amino acids

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What is a nebula? Space and astronomy

By |2018-05-31T11:49:30+00:00August 19th, 2017|Physics|

The Eagle Nebula A nebula is a bunch of atoms and molecules floating in outer space, like a cloud of dust. More than one nebula are called nebulae, because -ae is the plural ending in Latin, just as -s is the plural ending in English. Nebula is the Latin word for a cloud. The earliest nebulae formed just [...]

Hadean Eon – Earth, Moon, proteins, RNA

By |2018-09-06T07:09:44+00:00June 24th, 2017|Geology|

In the Hadean Eon, Earth was covered with active volcanoes like this one. Why is it called the Hadean Eon? Scientists named the Hadean Eon after the Greek god Hades, who ruled the underworld. That's because during most of the Hadean period the surface of the Earth must have been like the Christian [...]

What is plastic? Organic chemistry

By |2018-04-08T11:21:49+00:00June 2nd, 2017|History|

Plastic water bottles There are thousands of different kinds of plastic, from shopping bags to Fisher-Price toys to photographic film, CD's, and plumbing pipes. Some plastics, like chewing gum or rubber, grow as part of plants, but people make most of the different kinds of plastic. We call them "plastics" because they are [...]

What is a protein? Organic chemistry

By |2017-06-02T23:46:07+00:00June 2nd, 2017|Biology, Chemistry|

Proteins are a type of molecule made mainly out of hydrogen and carbon atoms. They are combinations of smaller molecules called amino acids. The first amino acids probably developed into proteins more than four billion years ago on Earth, possibly with the help of ribonucleic acid, or RNA. We don't know whether this process has happened on [...]

What are amino acids? Organic chemistry

By |2017-06-02T23:31:28+00:00June 2nd, 2017|Biology, Chemistry|

A model of the amino acid molecule glycine (red is oxygen, black is carbon, yellow is hydrogen, and blue is nitrogen atoms) Amino acids are molecules made out of hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen atoms (and a little sulphur). The earliest amino acids formed in space, about 14 billion years ago, before our solar [...]

What is nitrogen? Atoms, Elements, Chemistry

By |2018-04-24T14:46:22+00:00June 2nd, 2017|Chemistry|

Diagram of a nitrogen atom Inside a red giant star, the star smashes lighter atoms together. Smashing atoms gets the star energy to burn, and also leaves extra heavier atoms. Nitrogen is one of these heavier atoms, left over when a star smashes together carbon atoms. Nitrogen is not very heavy, though, and a [...]

What are hydrocarbons? Simple science – Chemistry

By |2017-06-02T08:24:00+00:00June 2nd, 2017|Chemistry|

A model of a methane molecule Hydrocarbons are molecules made out of hydrogen atoms and carbon atoms. Methane is the simplest hydrocarbon molecule: just one carbon atom with four hydrogen atoms stuck to it. Because both carbon and hydrogen were common in nebulae, hydrocarbon molecules are very common in space. Many of these molecules [...]

Natural Selection – Evolution and Biology

By |2017-05-29T17:09:11+00:00May 29th, 2017|Biology|

The feet of a person with six toes on each foot Whenever protons and electrons bump into each other, or atoms bump into each other, or molecules bump into each other, or prokaryotic cells bump into each other, or DNA molecules inside cells divide - whenever any of these things happen, they can happen [...]

What are proteinoids? Thermal proteins – Biology

By |2017-05-29T00:59:08+00:00May 29th, 2017|Biology|

Thermal proteins seen through a microscope Around four billion years ago, some of the amino acid molecules that were on the planet Earth began to join together into bigger molecules with hundreds of atoms in them, called themal proteins. Probably this happened in places where the water in the oceans on Earth was [...]