- Leonardo da Vinci was born on April 15, 1452 and died on May 2, 1519. He was Italian.
- Different to a typical surname you might think of today, “da Vinci” simply means “of Vinci”, the Tuscan town where he was born.
- He lived during the Renaissance, a cultural movement that led to important developments in areas such as art and science.
- Leonardo d Vinci is perhaps best known as a painter, with his legendary works including the Mona Lisa, the Vitruvian Man and the Last Supper, among others.
- Leonardo da Vinci wasn’t just an incredible artist, he was an inventor, scientist, mathematician, engineer, writer, musician and much more. Talk about talented!
- His conceptual drawings included plans for musical instruments, war machines, calculators, boats and other ideas. Many of these plans were limited by the level of technology at the time.
- Flight was of particular interest to da Vinci. He studied the flight of birds and created plans for flying machines that resemble hang gliders and helicopters.
- Many of Leonardo da Vinci’s machines have since been built and tested, to varying levels of success.
- He became an expert in the anatomy of the human body, studying it in detail and creating hundreds of drawings to help explain his thoughts.
- The Vitruvian Man is a drawing by Leonardo da Vinci that describes the relationship between human proportions and geometry.
- Da Vinci wrote in the opposite direction to what is normal, meaning you’d need a mirror to read it properly.
- The Mona Lisa is perhaps the most well known painting in the world. It is a half-length portrait of a woman who, along with the composition, background and other details, has been the subject of much speculation and discussion. It is believed that Leonardo da Vinci began painting the Mona Lisa around 1503. It has been on permanent display at the Louvre Museum in Paris for over 200 years.
- In 1994 Microsoft founder Bill Gates purchased perhaps Leonardo da Vinci’s most famous scientific writings, the ‘Codex Leicester’. It contains explanations of water movement, fossils and the moon among other things.
- Famous Leonardo da Vinci quotes include: “He who thinks little, errs much.”
- “Movement will cease before we are weary of being useful.”
- “What is fair in men, passes away, but not so in art.”
- “Drawing is based upon perspective, which is nothing else than a thorough knowledge of the function of the eye.”
- “Good culture is born of a good disposition; and since the cause is more to be praised than the effect, I will rather praise a good disposition without culture, than good culture without the disposition.”
- “I know that many will call this useless work.”
Hydrogen is the first element on the periodic table. It has an atomic number of 1. It is highly flammable and is the most common element found in our universe. More hydrogen facts.
- Liquid nitrogen boils at 77 kelvin (−196 °C, −321 °F). More nitrogen facts.
- Around 1% of the sun’s mass is oxygen. More oxygen facts.
- Helium is lighter than the air around us so it floats, that’s why it is perfect for the balloons you get at parties. More helium facts.
- Carbon comes in a number of different forms (allotropes), these include diamond, graphite and impure forms such as coal. More carbon facts, diamond facts, and coal facts.
- Under normal conditions, oil and water do not mix. More oil facts.
- Although it is still debated, it is largely recognized that the word ‘chemistry’ comes from an Egyptian word meaning ‘earth’.
- The use of various forms of chemistry is believed to go back as long ago as the Ancient Egyptians. By 1000 BC civilizations were using more complex forms of chemistry such as using plants for medicine, extracting metal from ores, fermenting wine and making cosmetics.
- Things invisible to the human eye can often be seen under UV light, which comes in handy for both scientists and detectives.
- Humans breathe out carbon dioxide (CO2). Using energy from sunlight, plants convert carbon dioxide into food during a process called photosynthesis.
- Chemical reactions occur all the time, including through everyday activities such as cooking. Try adding an acid such as vinegar to a base such as baking soda and see what happens!
- Above 4 °C, water expands when heated and contracts when cooled. But between 4 °C and 0 °C it does the opposite, contracting when heated and expanding when cooled. Stronger hydrogen and oxygen bonds are formed as the water crystallizes into ice. By the time it’s frozen it takes up around 9% more space.
- Often formed under intense pressure over time, a crystal is made up of molecules or atoms that are repeated in a three dimensional repeating pattern. Quartz is a well known example of a crystal.
- Athletes at the Olympic Games have to be careful how much coffee they drink. The caffeine in coffee is a banned substance because it can enhance performance. One or two cups are fine but they can go over the limit with more than five. (update – as of 2004 caffeine has been taken back off the WADA banned list but its use will be closely monitored to prevent future abuse by athletes.)
Jupiter is the largest planet in our Solar system. It is so big that more than 1300 Earths could fit inside it.
- Thick, colorful clouds of deadly poisonous gases surround Jupiter. The quick spinning of the planet whips up the atmosphere, creating the bands around the planet.
- If you were to descend into Jupiter, the thin, cold atmosphere becomes thicker and hotter, gradually turning into a thick, dark fog. In the blackness about 1000km down the pressure squeezes the atmosphere so hard that it becomes like liquid.
- At the centre of Jupiter is a rocky core, slightly bigger than Earth but weighing about 20 times more.
- Surrounding the core is an ocean of liquid hydrogen, about 1,000 kilometres deep.
- Jupiter has many storms raging on the surface, most notably the big red spot which is the largest hurricane in our Solar System. It’s been raging for over three hundred years.
- Jupiter has a very strong magnetic field, you would weigh two and a half times as much as you would on Earth.
- Jupiter has many moons circling around it. Four of these moons are bigger than Pluto.
Mars is nicknamed the red planet because it is covered with rust-like dust. Even the atmosphere is a pinkish red, colored by tiny particles of dust thrown up from the surface.
- Mars experiences violent dust storms which continually change its surface.
- Mars has many massive volcanoes and is home to Olympus Mons, the largest volcano in our solar system, it stands 21km high and is 600km across the base.
- Mars has a very thin atmosphere made mostly of carbon dioxide. It is not thick enough to trap the sun’s heat like Venus, so the planet is very cold. Temperatures range from -120 Degrees Celsius on winter nights to 25 Degrees Celsius in the summer.
- Mars has many channels, plains and canyons on the surface which could have been caused by water erosion in the past.
- Mars has very weak gravity which cannot hold onto the atmosphere well.
- The polar ice caps consist of frozen Co2 (dry ice) which lies over a layer of ice.
The surface of Mercury is very similar to our moon. It has a very barren, rocky surface covered with many craters.
- Being so close to the Sun, the daytime temperature on Mercury is scorching – reaching over 400 Degrees Celsius.
- At night however, without an atmosphere to hold the heat in, the temperatures plummet, dropping to -180 Degrees Celsius.
- Mercury has a very low surface gravity.
- Mercury has no atmosphere which means there is no wind or weather to speak of.
- There is also no water on the surface of Mercury, it is possible however that there could be water underneath the surface.
- Likewise, there is no air on the surface but it could be trapped underneath.
The domestic dog has been one of the most popular working and companion animals throughout human history.
Dogs perform many useful tasks for humans including hunting, farm work and security as well as assisting those with disabilities such as the blind.
Although experts often disagree, there is scientific evidence which shows that the domestication of dogs could have occurred more than 15,000 years ago.
There are hundreds of different breeds of dogs.
Examples of these breeds include: Bulldog, German Shepherd, Collie, Golden Retriever, St Bernard, Greyhound, Bloodhound, Chihuahua, Labrador, Great Dane, Rottweiler, Boxer and Cocker Spaniel.
The most popular breed of dog in the world by registered ownership is the Labrador. With their gentle nature, obedience, intelligence and near limitless energy, Labradors make for excellent family pets and reliable workers. They often assist police and are a common choice as guide dogs.
Dogs have formed such a strong bond as pets, workers and companions to humans that they have earned the nickname “man’s best friend”.
Humans help train various dog breeds to enter in competitions such as breed shows, agility and obedience contests, racing and sled pulling.
Dog have superior hearing than humans, capable of hearing sounds at four times the distance.
Dogs have a remarkable sense of smell, they are capable of differentiating odors in concentrations nearly 100 million times lower than humans can.
The average life span for a dog is around 10 to 14 years.
Those involved in dog breeding refer to males as ‘dogs’, females as ‘bitches’, dogs younger than a year old as ‘puppies’ and a group of offspring as a ‘litter’.
Domestic dogs are omnivores, they feed on a variety of foods including grains, vegetables and meats.
There are over 500 million domestic cats in the world.
Cats and humans have been associated for nearly 10000 years.
Cats conserve energy by sleeping for an average of 13 to14 hours a day.
Cats have flexible bodies and teeth adapted for hunting small animals such as mice and rats.
A group of cats is called a clowder, a male cat is called a tom, a female cat is called a molly or queen while young cats are called kittens.
Domestic cats usually weight around 4 kilograms (8 lb 13 oz) to 5 kilograms (11 lb 0 oz).
The heaviest domestic cat on record is 21.297 kilograms (46 lb 15.2 oz).
Cats can be lethal hunters and very sneaky, when they walk their back paws step almost exactly in the same place as the front paws did beforehand, this keeps noise to a minimum and limits visible tracks.
Cats have powerful night vision, allowing them to see at light levels six times lower than what a human needs in order to see.
Cats also have excellent hearing and a powerful sense of smell.
Older cats can at times act aggressively towards kittens.
Domestic cats love to play, this is especially true with kittens who love to chase toys and play fight. Play fighting among kittens may be a way for them to practice and learn skills for hunting and fighting.
On average cats live for around 12 to 15 years.
Cats spend a large amount of time licking their coats to keep them clean.
Feral cats are often seen as pests and threats to native animals.