Moment of Um

By American Public Media

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Category: Education for Kids

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Subscribers: 75
Reviews: 2

ogs929
 Jun 20, 2022
I love moment of Umm on brains on 😍

adelie
 Mar 20, 2022
Its a great podcast!5stars!

Description

Moment of Um is your daily answer to those questions that pop up out of nowhere and make you go… ummmmmmm. Brought to you by your friends at Brains On at APM Studios.

Episode Date
How do sticks make fire?
00:04:29

People rubbing two sticks together and a fire magically appearing is a common thing you might see in movies or on television. But does it actually work? We asked engineer Vi Rapp to help us find the answer.

Got a question that’s flickering in your brain? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help put out the fire.

Jul 01, 2022
Do babies understand words?
00:05:48

Babies. They’re cute little peanuts, huh? Babbling and drooling while their parents talk to them in widdle baby voices. But do babies understand what people say to them? When do they start learning how to communicate with language? We asked child psychologist Dr. Beverly Goldfield to help us find the right words to explain the answer. 

Got a question that’s really verbing your noun? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help you find an adjective answer.

Jun 30, 2022
How does soap make bubbles?
00:06:39

We know how important it is to wash our hands with soap and warm water. Get between the fingers, under the nails, all that good stuff. But why does soap get all foamy when you add water? Where do those bubbles come from? We asked University of Minnesota professor Frank Bates to help us find the answer.

Got a question that’s bubbling up in your brain? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help pop the question!

Jun 29, 2022
Why does blood taste like metal and why are we not magnetic?
00:05:34

Sometimes we get questions from listeners that are so intertwined that we just have to include them both in one episode, and today is one of those days! Cardiologist Dr. Courtney Jordan Baechler helps us figure out the answer to two questions – why does blood taste like metal, and why are we not magnetic? And as a bonus, Dr. B. includes a super fun experiment that you can do at home.

Got a question that’s meddling with your brain? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help iron out the answer.

Jun 28, 2022
How do you make clay for pottery?
00:05:13

Clay is neat stuff. You can knead it, shape it, carve it, sculpt it, and make all kinds of beautiful creations. It goes from soft and squishy to hard and breakable when it’s baked in a kiln. But clay is…dirt, right? It comes from the ground! So how do you get it out of the ground and into the blocks that you find at an art supply store? We asked ceramic artist and educator Lauren Sandler to guide us through the process. 

Got a question that you just knead an answer to? Send it to us atBrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help mold an answer into shape for you!

Jun 27, 2022
What do scientists in Antarctica eat?
00:04:37

Antarctica. Home of the South Pole and an incredibly diverse population of sea life. You know what there’s not a lot of in Antarctica? People! But there are some adventurous scientists who go there for research. These folks  can’t just zip out to the grocery store when they want to make a meal…so what do they eat?  We asked scientist Cameron Hearn to help us find the answer.

Got a question that’s just the tip of the iceberg? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll give you an ocean of knowledge!

Jun 24, 2022
Why don't ears have bones?
00:04:08

Are your ears burning? ‘Cause we’ve been thinking about them. Sure, they’re an incredible self-cleaning marvel that we can wax poetic about all day. Sure, they’re a great place for dads to store all kinds of hairs. But do ears have bones?  We asked Olivia Bermingham-McDonogh from the University of Washington to help us find the answer.

Heard a good question recently? Send it to us atBrainsOn.org/contact, because we’re ear for you.

Jun 23, 2022
Why are there holes in Swiss cheese?
00:03:35

Have you noticed that there’s a kind of cheese that’s holier than all the rest? Swiss! Why does it have all those holes anyway? We asked Jenny Eastwood of Small Goods to help us answer this delicious question.
Hungry for some answers? Send your questions to BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll briepare an answer justfor you.

Jun 22, 2022
What happens in our bodies when we are sick?
00:06:59

Let’s say you wake up on a Tuesday morning feeling fine and fresh. But by the end of the night your throat hurts, you’re coughing, and there’s snot dripping from your nose. What happened in the course of that one day to make you feel so sick? Dr. Courtney Jordan Baechler helps us stick our noses in this (t)issue

Got a question you can’t fever out? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and then be patient! We’ll help find the answer.

Jun 21, 2022
Why are peaches and some other fruits fuzzy?
00:04:47

Have you ever picked up a peach in the supermarket and noticed that its skin is covered in soft fuzz? What’s that about? Should we be taking our peaches to barbershops? And what about kiwis? They’re covered in scratchy hairs! Why do some fruits have fuzz while others have smooth skin? We talked to Dario Chavez from the University of Georgia to find out.

Got a fresh ‘n’ fruity question? Send it to us atBrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help find an a-peeling answer.

Jun 20, 2022
What would happen if the moon fell down onto earth?
00:05:44

Ever look up at the moon and wonder what it’s doing up there? And whether it could drop out of the sky and fall to earth’s surface? In this episode, astrophysicist Smadar Naoz helps us understand what would happen if the moon decided to give Earth a visit, and teaches us a thing or two about the forces keeping the moon in its place. 


Searching the skies for answers? Send your questions to BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help find an answer that will rock your world.

Jun 17, 2022
Why didn't sharks go extinct like dinosaurs?
00:06:37

If sharks were around in the time of dinosaurs, how are they still here today when dinosaurs have gone extinct? Were some just really, really good at hiding from the asteroid that hit Earth? For this episode, we talked to Karen Chin, a professor of Geological Sciences at the University of Colorado. 

Got a question you want to sink your teeth into? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll try our best to fin-ish what you started!

Jun 16, 2022
Do airplanes have a speed limit?
00:04:26

Airplanes fly high in the sky and at super fast speeds. But is there a limit to how fast they’re allowed to fly? You know, in the way cars have speed limits? For this episode, we talked to Bobby Sharp, an air traffic controller, who helps us understand if airplanes have a need for speed.

Got a question you need answered fast? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll try our plane old best to get it answered!

Jun 15, 2022
How many times does our heart beat a day?
00:05:15

Most of us know that we have a heart. We know that it beats - sometimes faster, sometimes slower. But just how many times does it beat in a day? We asked Dr. Courtney Jordan Baechler to have a heart-to-heart with us about this question. (She is also the host of the podcast Heart-to-Heart Conversations!)

Got a question that you just love? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we won’t beat around the bush!

Jun 14, 2022
How do 3D glasses work?
00:04:43

3D glasses. Those little paper spectacles with one red lens and one blue. Put ’em on, and suddenly, POW! Images seem to leap right off the screen! Do these glasses play magical mind tricks on our brain? Do they give our eyeballs multi-dimensional superpowers? For a lens into how it all works, we talked to UW-Madison physicist Pupa Gilbert.

Got a question that’s really jumping out at you? Send it to us atBrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help you put it into focus.

Jun 13, 2022
How does hair dye work?
00:05:04

If you could turn your hair any color in the world… what color would you choose?! Sapphire blue, hot pink, lime green, neon orange?? There are dyes out there that can turn your hair every color of the rainbow! But how exactly do they work? We asked Chemist Michelle Wall to help us understand.

Got a hairy question that needs answering? Send it to us atBrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll style an answer for you!

Jun 10, 2022
How do our clothes get dirty?
00:04:12

Clothes are FUN. We strut our stuff in them. Laugh and play in them. Sometimes we love one article of clothing so much, we never want to take it off! But eventually, all clothes do have to be cleaned. We chatted with Tide Principal Scientist Jennifer Ahoni about how clothes get dirty, even when they still look spotless. Listen and learn about the secrets of body soils and invisible dirt! 
Got a question in your pocket? Send it to us atBrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll fashion an answer for you.

Jun 09, 2022
Why does bread have holes?
00:04:53

Bread! It’s good stuff, no matter how you slice it. But why do slices of bread have holes in them? Are there bread moles who tunnel through baguettes? Invisible worms in the whole wheat? Chipmunks chewing on the ciabatta? We asked food scientist David Domingues  to help us find the answer.

Got a question that you knead us to look into? Send it to us atBrains On.org/contact, and we’ll find the answers where you yeast expect them!

Jun 08, 2022
What is the strongest glue?
00:07:38

Most of us have used a glue stick or Elmer’s, but what about the strongest glue in the WORLD? We got a fantastic question from a couple of listeners who wanted to know what the strongest glue is, so we reached out to biomedical engineer Danna Sheridan to help us find the answer.

Got a question that’s sticking in your mind? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help unglue the answer!

Jun 07, 2022
How do skunks spray?
00:04:51

If there’s one thing most people know about skunks - it’s that they spray! We know the spray smells bad and that we’re supposed to stay away from it. But just how do they spray? And why? We asked biologist Katelyn Amspacher to help us find the answer.

Got a question that’s so tough it’s a real stinker? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help earn our stripes by finding an answer.

Jun 06, 2022
Why are stuffed animals connected to sleeping?
00:04:35

Continuing with our snooze fest…it’s sleep week, and today is our final episode! Sleep specialist Andrew Stiehm answers the question “Why are stuffed animals connected to sleeping?” 

Got a question that you can’t bear not knowing the answer to? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll find an expert who isn’t too stuffy to answer!

Jun 03, 2022
Why do we drool when we're asleep?
00:05:18

Continuing with our snooze fest…it’s sleep week! We get so many questions from curious kids about sleeping, going to sleep, not sleeping, what happens to your body when you sleep, etc. that we decided to devote an entire week to some sweet shut eye! In today’s episode, sleep specialist Andrew Stiehm answers the question “Why do we drool when we're asleep?” 

Got a question that’s so good you could just drool over it? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help find the answer!

Jun 02, 2022
How do we breathe while we're asleep?
00:05:26

Continuing with our snooze fest…it’s sleep week! We get so many questions from curious kids about sleeping, going to sleep, not sleeping, what happens to your body when you sleep, etc. that we decided to devote an entire week to some sweet shut eye! In today’s episode, sleep specialist Andrew Stiehm answers the question “How do we breathe while we're asleep?” 

Got a question so big you’re just breathless with anticipation? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll find the answer!

Jun 01, 2022
Why are yawns contagious?
00:07:08

Continuing with our snooze fest…it’s sleep week! We get so many questions from curious kids about sleeping, going to sleep, not sleeping, what happens to your body when you sleep, etc. that we decided to devote an entire week to some sweet shut eye! In today’s episode, sleep specialist Andrew Stiehm answers the question “Why are yawns contagious?” 

Got a question so big you’re losing sleep over it? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll wake up an answer!

May 31, 2022
What makes us sleepy?
00:05:29

Get ready for a snooze fest because it’s sleep week! We get so many questions from curious kids about sleeping, going to sleep, not sleeping, what happens to your body when you sleep, etc. that we decided to devote an entire week to the art of the slumber! In today’s episode, sleep specialist Andrew Stiehm answers the question “What makes us sleepy?” 

Is the act of searching for a question making you feel exhausted? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we won’t sleep on the answer!

May 30, 2022
What causes solar flares?
00:03:45

Listener Graham wanted to know what solar flares are and what causes them, so we reached out to NASA Heliophysicist Nicola Fox to help us figure out why these bright flashes on the sun’s surface occur.

Got a question that’s been flaring up in your mind? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help make you brighter!

May 27, 2022
What's the smallest unit of measurement?
00:04:53

Let’s say you want to measure something really, really, really tiny. How do you do that? With inches? Centimeters? Millimeters? What if it’s so tiny you can’t even see it? Particle physicist Jessica Esquivel helps us solve this teeny tiny mystery!

Got a question that seems too big to answer? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll try to measure up!

May 26, 2022
Why do daddy long legs have super long legs?
00:03:28

Whether you’re a fan or not, one thing is for sure - most of us have had an encounter with a daddy long legs. They’ve got super duper long legs, and a TON of nicknames, including cellar spider, carpenter spider, daddy long-legger, vibrating spider, gyrating spider, long daddy, and skull spider. But why are their legs so long? Guilherme Gainett helps us solve this mystery.

Got a question crawling around your brain? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help figure it out!

May 25, 2022
Why do we rub our eyes when we're tired?
00:03:05

It seems universal that when a person - old or young - is tired, they rub their eyes. It’s even a way that babies communicate to their adults that they are ready for bed. Are we just born understanding that signal? Or is there something going on with our eyes that they need to be rubbed when we’re sleepy? Otolaryngologist Dr. Laura Orvidas helps us understand the connection in this episode. And stay tuned for the week of May 30, when all of our episodes will be sleep-themed. It’ll be a real “snooze fest”!

Got a question you’ve been eyeing? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we won’t sleep on the answer!

May 24, 2022
Why do ostriches stick their heads in the ground?
00:04:27

Ostriches are super neat! They’re the world’s heaviest birds, and they lay the largest eggs of any bird on Earth. They grow up to 8 feet tall, and can run as fast as 45 miles per hour. But you know what they don’t do? They don’t stick their heads in the ground to hide! There are a few reasons why this misunderstanding is so popular, and Sushma Reddy from the Bell Museum helps us understand.

Up to your neck in questions? Send it to us atBrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll find someone who can answer it in the shake of a tailfeather! 

May 23, 2022
What produces eye gunk when we sleep?
00:05:13

Have you ever woken up in the morning with the corners of your eyes filled with crud? Sleepy sand? Eye goblins? Dozy dust? Bed boogers? Why do our eyes make this stuff, anyway? And why does it build up when we’re asleep? We asked Yale eye doctor Soshian Sarrafpour to help us get to the bottom of this issue.

Got a question that you can’t keep a lid on? Send it to us atBrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll find someone who can answer it in the blink of an eye 

May 20, 2022
Why do we itch?
00:03:41

A mosquito bites you. Your grandma knits you a scratchy blanket. Your friend tickles you with a feathery cat toy. What do all of these things have in common? They make you itch! Listener Samantha was wondering just why that is, and neuroscientist Sonali Mali says she’s always wondered the same thing, so that’s why she studies it!

Got a question tickling at your brain? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, because we’re just itching to help you find the answer!

May 19, 2022
Why do pugs have such scrunched faces?
00:04:00

Pugs! They’re adorable! The internet loves them for their sassy personalities and squishy faces. But how did the pug’s face get so smushed? Why are pug noses different from terrier sniffers or German shepherd snoots? We asked animal geneticist Jeff Schoenbeck to help us sniff out the answer. 

Got a question that’s right in front of your schnozz? Send it to us atBrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll find someone who NOSE the answer.

May 18, 2022
How and why do we produce saliva?
00:03:38

Our mouths have a lot going on. They have teeth and a tongue and they help us talk and eat. But what about saliva? It seems important, right? How do our bodies know to make it? We asked otolaryngologist Dr. Laura Orvidas to help us learn all about saliva. 

Got a question that you just can’t lick? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help find an answer.

May 17, 2022
What is the flavor of root beer?
00:06:10

A lot of people like root beer! But it’s kind of hard to describe, right? It’s really got a unique taste. We asked Ashley Rose-Young, a historian from the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History, to help explain exactly what the flavor of root beer is, and share a little of the history behind this yummy drink. 

Got a question that’s poppin’ around your brain? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help get to the root of the issue.

May 16, 2022
Why does dust make us sneeze?
00:04:09

There are lots of reasons to sneeze - you have a cold, you get a whiff of pepper or someone tickles your nose with a feather! But why is it that dust makes us sneeze? We asked otolaryngologist Laura Orvidas to help us find the answer.

Got a question that’s gathering dust in your brain? Send it to us atBrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help you sniff out the answer.

May 13, 2022
Can muscles break like bones do?
00:04:25

If you’ve ever had the unfortunate experience of breaking a bone, it’s not the most fun. But can muscles break in the same way bones can? One listener was wondering about this, and physical therapist Karen Litzy helps us get a leg up on the issue. 

Do you have a question you’d like to ask? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help find the answer!

May 12, 2022
Why is being right-handed more common?
00:07:14

Are you left-handed or right-handed? Chances are you’re right handed, because more people are (though if you’re left-handed, that’s cool too!). So why are more people right-handed? We asked paleontologist Alexander Claxton to help us get to the bottom of this question. 

Got a question whose answer you can’t quite put your finger on? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help point out the answer.

May 11, 2022
Do cats go to the dentist?
00:05:20

An inevitability of life is that humans have to go to the dentist. Some people love it, some hate it! But taking care of our teeth is super important. Do our kitty friends have to do the same thing? Large animal surgeon Whitney Cutrone answers this very question.

Got a question that’s got some bite? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help find an answer right meow!

May 10, 2022
Why are cactuses prickly?
00:06:45

Lots of plants are smooth to the touch, and some are even soft and feathery like flowers! So why are cactuses prickly and sometimes even painful? We asked botanist Rachel Jabaily from Colorado College to answer this spine-tingling question. 

Got a question that’s prickling at your brain? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help sharpen you up.

May 09, 2022
What happens when parts of your body fall asleep?
00:05:51

If you’ve ever stood up quickly and felt a little wobbly and tingly in your legs, you might be familiar with the sensation of having a body part that has fallen asleep! Why does that happen and how can we fix it? Otolaryngologist Karen Litzy helps us get to the bottom of this mystery. 

Got a question that you just can’t stand not knowing the answer to? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help you get a leg up on that topic!

May 06, 2022
Why do horses need horseshoes?
00:06:29

You don’t see most horses wearing pants, jackets or hats but one thing is for sure - they’re almost always wearing shoes! You know, those u-shaped things attached to their hooves. Why is that? Large animal surgeon Whitney Cutrone helps us find the answer. 

Are you saddled with a big equestrian? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll get to the mane issue.

May 05, 2022
Could a popcorn kernel grow into a popcorn plant?
00:03:32

If you plant certain seeds in the right condition - a plant or tree might grow. But what happens if you plant a popcorn kernel? Will a bowl of popcorn grow right out of the ground? We needed to know, so we asked Phil Fox of Popcornopolis to help us find the answer. 

Are you searching for a kernel of truth? Send your question to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and you butter believe we’ll help find the answer.

May 04, 2022
What are tongues for?
00:03:50

So there’s this big, bumpy muscle inside of our mouths and we know it’s important and that we have to take great care of it. But what’s it even for? We asked Otolaryngologist Laura Orvidas from the Mayo Clinic to help us find the answer.

Got a question that’s got you all tongue tied? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll muscle an answer out of an expert.

May 03, 2022
Why do raspberries have little hairs on them?
00:04:10

Mammals have hair to help keep warm in the cold, and in some cases - to look awesome! But why do raspberries have those little hairs all over them? They don’t get cold - do they? We asked Emily Hoover from the University of Minnesota to help us understand.

Got a question that’s berry hard to answer? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll pick an expert to answer it!

May 02, 2022
How do birds fly?
00:04:18

Is it the wings? Is it the feathers? Is it how light they are? If you’ve ever wondered why birds can fly, this is the episode for you! We asked ornithologist Drew Lanham to help us find the answer.

Got a question that you’re egg-cited about? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll do more than wing it.

Apr 29, 2022
How do tattoos stay forever?
00:04:57

In the United States, you can’t get a tattoo until you’re 18 years old. If that seems unfair, just think about it - it’s permanent! As in…forever and ever! For all time! So how does it actually stay on your skin? We asked dermatologist Roopal Kundu to help us find the answer.

Got a question that feels like it’s permanently etched in your brain? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help (th)ink of an answer.

Apr 28, 2022
How do sloths sleep upside down without letting go?
00:03:31

Sloths are really, really good at hanging upside down. They practically make it seem effortless! Why is that? Do they love it? Is the world just more fun from that angle? We asked zoologist Lucy Cooke to help us figure it out.

Got a question that’s clawing at your brain? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and hang in there - we’ll help you find the answer.

Apr 27, 2022
Why do we have nails?
00:05:03

Nails – we clean them, trim them, paint them, and sometimes even wear fake ones! But why do we have them in the first place? We talked to paleontologist Alexander Claxton about the evolutionary reasons behind having nails.

Got a question that you just can’t nail down? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help point afinger at the answer.

Apr 26, 2022
Why do different flowers have different smells?
00:04:01

For the most part, flowers smell really great, right? They give off scents that are sweet, syrupy, perfumy and fresh. But they don’t all smell the same. We asked botanist Josh Felton from Colorado College why that is.

Got a question you’d like to sniff out? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll find a budding expert to give the answer.

Apr 25, 2022
Is a whale shark bigger than a whale?
00:04:21

Whale sharks are big. They’re the biggest fish in the whole ocean! Have you ever wondered how they got so big? We asked shark expert Amani Webber-Schultz to help us find out. 

Do you have an ocean-sized question sloshing around in your brain? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll SEA what we can find!

Apr 22, 2022
Why do we have reflexes?
00:04:49

If you’ve ever had a ball tossed at your face, you probably flinched, tried to knock it away from your face, or jumped out of the way, right? That’s called a reflex, and most humans have them including tiny babies. We asked physical therapist Karen Litzy why that is.

Got a question for us? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help find the answer! 

Apr 21, 2022
How far can an owl turn its head?
00:05:34

Owls are amazing. Most are nocturnal and hunt at night. They have incredible eyesight. And a group of them is called a parliament! One of our listeners was wondering how far they can turn their heads around. We asked Lauren Smith from the Owl Research Institute to help us find the answer.

Got a Moment of Um question that’s turning you upside down? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help get it all sorted out.

Apr 20, 2022
Why does black absorb heat?
00:05:03

Have you ever noticed how we usually wear lighter colors in the warmer months, and darker colors once it gets cold? Like how your black shirt is perfect at keeping cozy in the winter, but far too sweaty for the summer. But why is that? We asked physicist Dr. Desiré Whitmore, aka the Laser Chick, to help us understand why black absorbs heat. 

Got a Moment of Um question that’s absorbing your mind? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help answer it.

Apr 19, 2022
How do rocks form?
00:04:33

Maybe you’ve never thought twice about rocks, but there has to be a reason that they are covering the Earth’s surface right? We just had to know how they got here, so we asked rock expert Mary Leech to help us find the answer.

Got a question that really rocks? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help unEarth the answer.

Apr 18, 2022
Why does time fly when you're having fun?
00:04:51

Have you ever experienced the term "time flies when you’re having fun"? It’s an unfortunate reality of life that time seems to crawl by when we’re waiting for something to happen, and go too fast when we’re having a blast. We asked Ruth Ogden, a psychologist at John Moores University, why this happens.

Is there a question you’ve been pondering for a minute? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll set aside the time to get it answered.

Apr 15, 2022
Why does rain fall in tiny droplets and not big plops?
00:03:53

If you’ve ever been caught in the rain, it probably wasn’t a big deal, right? Lucky for us, rain typically falls from the sky in small droplets. Listener Joe was wondering why that is, so we reached out to Monique Robinson of Mississippi State University to help us find the answer.

Got a Moment of Um question that’s raining on your parade? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help weather the storm.

Apr 14, 2022
Why do people move their arms when they walk?
00:03:47

Let’s say you’re watching a bunch of people run a marathon. The runners are pumping their legs, sure. But they’re also swinging their arms. Why is that? And why do we swing them when walking too?  We asked Rachel Adenekan of Stanford University to help explain why that swinging motion is so universal. 

Got a Moment of Um question that’s keeping you at arm’s length? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll point a finger at the answer.

Apr 13, 2022
Why do leaves change color only in the fall?
00:05:39

In fall we like to change up our wardrobe from shorts and T-shirts to pants and sweaters. And guess what, trees do that too! Except they change the color of their leaves. Why is that? We asked Marlyse Duguid from the Yale School of the Environment to help us find the answer.

Got a question that’s leaf-ing you stumped? Send it to us atBrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll put your mind at (for)rest.

Apr 12, 2022
How are alligators and crocodiles different?
00:04:37

People think alligators and crocodiles are really scary - and lots of people don’t understand the difference between them. But wildlife biologist Venetia Briggs-Gonzales says they are very cool and helps us get to the bottom of their distinctive qualities!

Got a Moment of Um question that’s chomping away at your curiosity? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help hunt the answer.

Apr 11, 2022
Why do beehives look like hexagons?
00:05:13

If you’ve ever taken a close look at a beehive you can see that it is covered in tiny hexagons! But why is that? We asked bee researcher Jessica Kevill to help us find the answer.

Got a Moment of Um question that’s buzzing around in your brain? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help get it all sorted out.

Apr 08, 2022
Why is pee yellow?
00:03:50

Pee is super cool! It’s 95% water. It’s sterile. And it can be a window into our overall health. But why is it yellow? We asked mechanical engineer Patricia Yang to help us find the answer.

Got a Moment of Um question? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help find the answer.

Apr 07, 2022
Why do sharks have to keep moving to stay alive?
00:03:48

If there’s one thing that’s generally known about sharks, it’s that they have sharp teeth. But have you heard they have to keep moving to stay alive? Why is that? In this episode we talk to shark scientist Melissa Cristina Marquez about this very question.

Do you have a Moment of Um question that seems kind of fishy? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll chew on the answer.

Apr 06, 2022
Why does ice help with swelling?
00:04:59

If you’ve ever banged your knee pretty badly, you might have noticed the knee swells up to larger than its normal size. To ease your pain and make the swelling go down, maybe someone handed you an ice pack. But why is it ice that does the trick to reduce swelling, and does anything else work? We asked physical therapist Karen Litzy to help us find the answer.

Got a Moment of Um question that’s making your brain swell? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help get it all sorted out.

Apr 05, 2022
Why does the sun stay in one place?
00:03:40

Earth is always moving around the sun, but does the sun move too? Or is it fixed in one place in the cosmos? In this episode, we talk to astrophysicist Brittany Kamai to get to the heart of this issue!

Do you have a Moment of Um question that’s burning in your brain? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help shine a light on the answer.

Apr 04, 2022
Why do you lose your voice when you yell?
00:05:35

Have you ever stayed up late talking to your friends while watching movies, or yelled for your teammates at a soccer match, or screamed at the top of your lungs walking through a haunted house? Maybe you woke up the next day with a hoarse, scratchy voice that you didn’t even recognize. In this episode, we talk to Dr. Jennifer Long, an otolaryngologist, about why we lose our voice when we yell or talk loudly.

Do you have a Moment of Um question that’s so good it makes you want to scream? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help vocalize the answer.

Apr 01, 2022
Why does your tongue stick to ice?
00:03:12

Have you ever been tempted to lick something frozen? Hopefully not, because your tongue could get stuck!  But don’t worry, we talked to engineer Alexis Noel all about why our tongue sticks to ice, and what to do about it if that happens to you!

Do you have a Moment of Um question that’s so good it’s giving you the chills? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help unfreeze your brain.

Mar 31, 2022
Why are bees black and yellow?
00:03:58

Bees are incredible! There are 20,000 species, and so much to learn about them. But have you ever wondered why they are black and yellow? Such a specific color palette, right? We asked Entomologist Dan Cariveau to help us find the answer.

Got a Moment of Um question that’s buzzing around in your brain? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help you BEE informed.

Mar 30, 2022
Why does hot sauce make your nose run?
00:04:59

If you’re an adventurous eater you might have tried spicy cuisine, or maybe added hot sauce to your meals. Did your eyes water? Did your nose run? If so, that’s a totally normal response, and  Otolaryngologist Erich P. Voigt is here to help us understand why that is.

Got a burning Moment of Um question for us? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help you find the answer.

Mar 29, 2022
How do shells get their shape?
00:04:11

Shells come in so many amazing shapes and sizes -  spirals, sand dollars, sundials, ones that whirl around, ones that twirl around, ones that twist to the side and some that even look like cookies! Our listener Lily had a great question about these shapes, and Mike Sanchez, a Naturalist at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, helps us get to the bottom of this twisted subject!

Got a Moment of Um question whose shell you just can’t crack? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help get to the bottom of it.

Mar 28, 2022
What happens when you pour salt on a snail?
00:04:14

You might have heard a rumor that snails have a big reaction when you pour salt on them. But curator Tim Pearce from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History wants you to know that it’s cruel to do so. And he’ll tell you why! 

Got a Moment of Um question that wants to come out of its shell? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help slug out an answer.

Mar 25, 2022
Do fish have tongues?
00:03:39

Even though fish can be very small, it’s obvious that they have mouths. But what’s inside that mouth? Tiny teeth? A little tongue? A uvula hangy ball at the back of their throat? Tierney Thys, a marine biologist and National Geographic explorer, helps us understand at least one element of a fish’s mouth - whether they have tongues! 

Got a burning Moment of Um question that you just can’t lick? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help you get a taste for knowledge!

Mar 24, 2022
Why do bats sleep upside down?
00:03:47

We already know that bats are amazing creatures. They are the only mammals that can fly. The bones in their wings resemble our fingers. They account for about one in five of all mammals living on the planet. And some can fly up to 99 miles per hour! But have you ever asked yourself why the heck they sleep upside down? We asked biologist DeeAnn Reeder to help us find the answer.

Got a Moment of Um question that’s turning you upside down? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help get it all sorted out.

Mar 23, 2022
Where does a candle go when it burns?
00:03:58

We know why candles melt - from being lit, of course! But where do candles go when they melt? Do they just disappear into thin air? We asked scientist Fabien Goulay from West Virginia University to help us understand.

Got a flicker of a Moment of Um question for us? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help you light up an answer.

Mar 22, 2022
When your eyes are closed, are your pupils big or small?
00:04:03

Have you ever stared in the bathroom mirror and flicked the light on and off and watched what happens to your pupils? They get bigger, then smaller, then bigger, then smaller, right? One of our listeners was wondering what happens to our pupils when we close our eyes. Since we can’t see through our own eyelids, we called on Sasha Strul, University of Minnesota Pediatric Ophthalmologist, to help us discover the answer.

Do you have a Moment of Um question for us? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help open your eyes to the answer.

Mar 21, 2022
What happens when lightning strikes water?
00:04:26

It’s one thing to watch a storm roll in from the safety of your own home, but what if you’re out in the middle of the ocean and things start to head in a stormy direction? Jonathan Smith, a faculty research assistant at University of Maryland, will help us understand what happens when lightning strikes water.

Do you have a strikingly good Moment of Um question for us? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help spark an answer!

Mar 18, 2022
Do worms sleep?
00:04:36

Worms! Some of us love them - some of us are terrified of them! But have you ever wondered how they get their rest? Physicist Daniel Gonzales is the expert on all things worms and sleep and he’s here to fill us in. 

Got a Moment of Um question for us that’s been slithering around your brain? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help you find the answer.

Mar 17, 2022
Can a moon have a moon?
00:03:25

One of the best things about looking up at the night sky is gazing at our big, beautiful moon. But why do we get to have all the fun? Can a moon have its own moon? Harvard graduate student Chantanelle Nava helps us understand. 

Do you have a Moment of Um question for us that’s totally far out? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help you find the answer.

Mar 16, 2022
What is tree bark made of?
00:04:50

If you’ve ever hugged a tree (and we hope you have!) you’ll know that the outside of a tree can be bumpy, prickly, and can even scrape your skin. That’s because trees are covered in tree armor – otherwise known as bark. One of our listeners wanted to know what tree bark is made of, so we asked forest ecologist Diana Macias to explain.

Do you have an evergreen question for Moment of Um? Leaf it for us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll try to find the answer.

Mar 15, 2022
Why do we jump when we get scared?
00:03:31

If you’ve ever jumped right out of your seat when watching a scary movie, you know that sometimes your body has a reaction to being surprised or frightened. One of our listeners wanted to know why that happens, and we asked neurologist Sarah Benish to help us understand.

Got a startlingly good Moment of Um question for us? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll try to be brave enough to find the answer.

Mar 14, 2022
Why do our lips get chapped?
00:04:09

We’ve all suffered with chapped lips in the winter: itchy, flaking, sometimes even bleeding. Yikes! One of our listeners wanted to know how this happens, so we asked dermatologist Roxana Daneshjou to explain.  

Got a Moment of Um question for us? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll ask around for the answer.

Mar 11, 2022
Do fish have allergies?
00:04:33

Most of us have some experience with allergies: maybe it’s pollen or a pet that makes us sneeze, or maybe there are certain foods we can’t eat. But do other creatures have allergies too? Are fish sniffling and sneezing underwater? We asked biologist Laura Zimmerman to help us understand.  

Got a Moment of Um question for us? Go to BrainsOn.org/contact to send it to us, and we’ll go fishing for the answer.

Mar 10, 2022
If the earth had rings, could we see them?
00:04:24

We’ve all seen pictures of the planet Saturn, with its beautiful rings. But what if the Earth had rings? Could you look out your window and see them? We asked planetary scientist Linda Spilker to help us imagine what that might look like. 

Got a Moment of Um question taking up space in your brain? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact and you could hear the answer on a future episode!

Mar 09, 2022
What are eyebrows for?
00:04:31

You might not think about your eyebrows much, but if they weren’t there, you’d definitely notice! So how did those patches of hair come to be above our eyes? Why can we wiggle them? What are they for? We asked Penny Spikins, Professor of Human Evolution at the University of York in the UK, to help us answer our questions.  

If there’s a question that’s made you raise your eyebrows, we can help with that! Submit your Moment of Um question at BrainsOn.org/contact and we’ll find the answer.

Mar 08, 2022
If hair is dead, how does it grow?
00:03:39

Do you know why it doesn’t hurt to get a haircut? Because the hair on your head is actually dead. But if it’s dead, how does it grow? Dermatologist Roxana Daneshjou explained it to us. 

Send your hairiest questions for Moment of Um to BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll comb for the answers.

Mar 07, 2022
Why is air invisible?
00:04:23

Air – we can’t breathe without it, we can’t live without it, we know it’s made up of molecules, so why is it invisible? Chemist Vicky van der Geer-Bock will help us answer this question.

If there’s a question whose answer feels invisible to you, we can help with that! Submit your Moment of Um question at BrainsOn.org/contact and we’ll help find the answer.

Mar 04, 2022
How do shoelaces come untied?
00:04:40

Have you ever been walking around when you notice that your shoelaces have come untied, even though you just tied them? What’s up with that? We asked engineer Christine Gregg to help us understand. 

Send us your questions for Moment of Um at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll do all the footwork to find the answer.

Mar 03, 2022
What's the sourest thing in the world?
00:03:29

Most of us are familiar with the taste of something sour – that tart feeling that makes your eyes close and your facial features squint. Lemons, lime juice, kimchi are all sour - but what is the sourest thing in the world? We asked Janelle Klepper who has a Masters of Public Health in Nutrition from the University of Minnesota to help us figure it out.

And if YOU have a question, we can help with that! Submit your Moment of Um question at BrainsOn.org/contact and we’ll help find the answer.

Mar 02, 2022
Why don't pine trees lose their needles in the winter?
00:04:19

In the winter, most of us are used to seeing bare tree branches  – but some trees, like firs, pines, and spruces, don’t usually lose their needles when it gets cold. We asked forest ecologist Diana Macias to help us understand why.  

Got a Moment of Um question for us? Go to BrainsOn.org/contact to send it to us, and we’ll root around for the answer.

Mar 01, 2022
Why do words sound funny when repeated?
00:03:41

Have you ever noticed that when you say the same word over and over, it starts to sound funny? It’s like the word loses its meaning and just becomes weird, disconnected sounds. One of our listeners wanted to know why, and we went to linguist Shohini Battasali for the answer. 

Got a Moment of Um question for us? Go to BrainsOn.org/contact to send it to us, and we’ll go in search of a solution, solution, solution, solution…

Feb 28, 2022
Do spiders poop?
00:03:25

When you have a pet, part of taking care of that pet is cleaning up after them. Whether it’s scooping dog doo-doo from the yard, cleaning caca from your cat’s litter box, or picking out the pellet sized poops from a hamster’s cage, dealing with dookie is part of living with animals.  But one of our listeners is wondering…do spiders poop? Paul Shamble of Harvard University helps us understand.


If you’ve got a Moment of Um question that’s itching to get out, send it our way at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll scoop up the answer.

Feb 25, 2022
What's the difference between a squid and an octopus?
00:04:12

Cephalopods are a group of marine creatures who all have a big head, a set of arms or tentacles, and can squirt ink. This group includes animals like squids and octopuses, but how do you know which is which? Marine biologist Sarah McAnulty gave us a few things to look for. 

If you’ve got a Moment of Um question inked in your brain, send it our way at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll search for the answer.

Feb 24, 2022
Why are goats' pupils horizontal?
00:03:52

Goats are extremely important animals for lots of cultures around the world – they provide milk, meat, and even warm wool. Have you ever noticed that their eyes are unusual? Instead of round pupils like you and me, their pupils are shaped like horizontal lines. We asked vision scientist Martin Banks to explain why. 

If you’ve got an eye-opening question for Moment of Um, send it our way at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll try to find the answer. 

Feb 23, 2022
How do trees make rings?
00:05:18

Tree rings are kind of like a tree’s personal diary – they record everything that happens to them - from the weather, to fires and insects. One of our listeners wanted to know how tree rings form, and if you can actually tell the age of a tree by counting the rings. We asked forest ecologist Diana Macias to help us with the answer. 

Do you have a stumper of a question for Moment of Um? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll get to the root of the problem.

Feb 22, 2022
How do fish get into lakes?
00:03:02

Here at Moment of Um, we love fishing for questions, and the one we’re answering now is a great catch. It comes from Marc, in Miami Florida: When lakes form, how do fish get in them? Associate Professor Megan McPhee from the University of Alaska Fairbanks helps us get to the bottom of this topic. If you have a Moment of Um question, send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact and you could hear the answer on a future episode!

Feb 21, 2022
Can one black hole eat another black hole?
00:04:54

Black holes are one of the strangest things in space: gravity is so strong that nothing gets out, not even light, so learning about them is a big challenge for scientists. If black holes “eat” everything around them, could one black hole eat another black hole? We talked with astrophysicist Marcos Flores to shed some light on the subject. 

Are you in the dark with a Moment of Um question? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact and you could hear the answer on a future episode!

Feb 18, 2022
How do narwhal tusks grow?
00:03:46

Narwhals are sometimes called “the unicorns of the sea” because of their giant spiral tusks. It turns out that those tusks are actually a big tooth that grows right out of the narwhal’s mouth! One of our listeners wanted to know if narwhals were born with a hole in their head for the tusk, and if not, does it hurt the narwhal when the tusk comes through? We spoke with marine biologist Kristin Laidre to get the tooth – er, the truth

If you’ve got a whale of a question for Moment of Um, you can send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact!

Feb 17, 2022
What's the difference between a butterfly and a moth?
00:03:58

Picture this: you’re outside with a friend, and you both see a little insect flying around. It’s got a small dark body, some tiny antennae, and big colorful wings. You say, “What a beautiful butterfly!” But your friend says, “No, that’s a moth!” How can you tell the difference? We got entomologist Brian Brown to give us the key. 

If you’ve got a Moment of Um question fluttering around in your brain, send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact and we’ll try to catch the answer.e.

Feb 16, 2022
Why can some people wiggle their ears?
00:04:50

Do you know how to wiggle your ears? It might seem like one of those things that some people can do and other people just can’t, but neuroscientist Steve Hackley says he thinks anyone can learn – and he’s got your instructions! Plus, he tells us why it’s potentially an important skill. 

If you’ve got a question for Moment of Um wiggling around in your brain, send it our way at BrainsOn.org/contact, and you might hear the answer on an upcoming episode.

Feb 15, 2022
Why does the moon change colors?
00:03:09

Have you ever noticed that the moon looks different at different times of the month? Not just the shape, whether it’s full and round or a tiny sliver – but the color also looks different sometimes. Maybe it’s dark orange, or silvery white, or even a bluish tinge. We asked astronomer and planetarium educator Sarah Komperud to help us understand. 

Is there a Moment of Um question you’re mooning over? Launch it our way at BrainsOn.org/contact and we’ll look for the answer.

Feb 14, 2022
Why do crickets chirp?
00:03:41

The sound of crickets on a warm summer evening is just so soothing, isn’t it? All those little insects in the grass, talking to each other about… well, we don’t really know! In fact, we don’t know why they chirp at all. We asked neurobiologist Jon Lambert to tell us what’s actually going on out there at night. 

If you’ve got a question that just won’t let you rest, send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll do our best to find the answer!

Feb 11, 2022
Do mice really like cheese?
00:03:26

We’ve all seen cartoon images of a mousetrap loaded with a big wedge of delicious cheese, but is that what mice actually like to eat? Maybe they like spaghetti, or tacos, or chocolate pudding. We asked veterinarian Kate Pritchett-Cornett what we should serve next time we’re having a family of mice over for dinner. 

Got another cheesy question for us? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact and we’ll try to do a gouda job of answering it.

Feb 10, 2022
Do spiders have ears?
00:03:32

Have you ever screamed when you saw a spider in the house? First of all, don’t be scared, that spider isn’t looking for you. But second of all, did you wonder if the spider even heard you? Most of us haven’t gotten close enough to a spider to see if it has any ears at all. We asked spider expert Paul Shamble to explain how spiders hear. 

If you’ve got a question about spiders or anything else, send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact and we’ll do our best to find the answer.

Feb 09, 2022
Do we have our own gravity?
00:04:25

You might have heard of gravity as the force that keeps us firmly on the ground and not floating off the planet. Big things (like planets, moons, and stars) have gravity that pulls other objects toward them. But what about smaller things? Like… us? Do we have our own gravity? We asked [need expert’s name and title] to help us figure it out.

If there’s a question pulling at you like a powerful force, we can help with that!  Submit your Moment of Um question at BrainsOn.org/contact and we’ll find the answer.

Feb 08, 2022
Do we sneeze in our sleep?
00:03:58

Being asleep is kind of a funny thing, because you don’t know if you’re doing anything in your sleep – because you’re asleep! Some people talk in their sleep, others get out of bed and walk around… but do we ever sneeze in our sleep? We asked neurologist Michael Hall if it was even possible. 

Got a Moment of Um question that’s keeping you awake? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact and you could hear the answer on a future episode!

Feb 07, 2022
Would a poisonous snake die if it bit itself?
00:03:50

We all know that bites from poisonous snakes can be really dangerous, but can a poisonous snake poison itself?  We asked snake expert Laurie Aarons to give us the factssssssssss. 

If you’ve got a Moment of Um question for us, slither your way over to BrainsOn.org/contactto submit it.

Feb 04, 2022
Why can you hear the ocean in a seashell?
00:03:25

The sounds of the ocean are so relaxing… the waves crashing on the sand, the gentle roar of the surf. And if you pick up a big seashell and put it to your ear, you can almost hear the ocean there too! One of our listeners wanted to know why, so we asked physicist Steve Errede to help us catch that wave. 

Do you have a great question for Moment of Um? Surf on over to BrainsOn.org/contact and share it with us.

Feb 03, 2022
What makes water go up a straw?
00:03:46

It’s always fun to sip a drink through a straw, whether it’s a frosty milkshake or an ice-cold lemonade. But did you know that the earth’s atmosphere actually plays a part in how liquid travels up a straw? Aerospace engineer Nicole Sharp explains it for us.

If you’ve reached the last straw on a question you need quenched, send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact.

Feb 02, 2022
What happens when you crack your knuckles?
00:04:14

Do you crack your knuckles? You know, you pull back on your fingers until you feel a pop or a snap? Some people will tell you that cracking your knuckles is actually bad for your hands, but one of our listeners wondered if that’s really true. We asked Dr. Rowland Chang, who studies joints like knuckles, what’s happening inside your body when you crack your knuckles, and if it’s causing any harm.  

If you’ve got a great Moment of Um question at your fingertips, send it our way at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll do our best to handle it.

Feb 01, 2022
Do we still get sponges from the sea?
00:03:38

When it’s time to clean your kitchen or bathroom, there are lots of tools that can help you – mops, brooms, dustpans, buckets – but only one of them has its origins in the ocean. We’re talking about the versatile sponge: marine creature AND great for scrubbing dishes. But does the sponge in your sink actually come right out of the sea? Dr. Jennifer Quinlan, who studies food safety, has the answer.

If you’ve got a salty question you’d like us to answer on a future Moment of Um, submit it to us BrainsOn.org/contact.

Jan 31, 2022
How do snakes smell with their noses?
00:04:03

What do you think the world smells like to a snake? Do smells help them find their prey, or a safe place to rest? Can they smell danger? Can they smell pizza? We asked reptile expert Carol Spencer to help us sniff out the answer to how snakes use their noses. 

Are you hot on the scent of a great Moment of Um question? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact.

Jan 28, 2022
Why does the sound of nails on a chalkboard bother us?
00:04:14

Are there certain sounds that you just can’t stand? Maybe it’s the sound of someone chewing, or brakes screeching on a bus. Most of us really dislike the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard, but what is it about that sound that sets us on edge? We asked Adrian KC Lee, a neuroscientist who specializes in hearing, to explain why that squeal is so particularly painful.

Do you have a question that sounds like a good fit for Moment of Um? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contactand we’ll take a listen.

Jan 27, 2022
Why are robin eggs blue?
00:04:33

Bird eggs come in lots of different colors: white, brown, green, lavender, pink, and more. Splotches and speckles abound, too. If you’re in North America, maybe you’ve seen tiny bright blue robin’s eggs in a springtime nest. But did you ever wonder what makes that blue color? And why are robin’s eggs blue in the first place? We talked to biologist Bob Montgomerie about the reason for the hue. 

If you’ve got a Moment of Um question that’s cracking you up, send it to the egg-heads at BrainsOn.org/contact and we’ll scramble to find the answer.

Jan 26, 2022
Why do things glow in the dark?
00:03:48

From glow-in-the-dark stickers to bioluminescent bacteria, twinkling fireflies to radiant jellyfish, the world is full of things that have the power to shine a light in the darkness. But how do glow-in-the-dark things actually work? We asked chemistry professor Aleeta M. Powe to illuminate this question for us. 

If you’ve got a question that we could shine some light on, send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact and we’ll do our best to brighten your day.

Jan 25, 2022
How does pencil lead stick to paper?
00:04:40

We take pencils for granted. They’re kicked around, thrown in the garbage and chewed on like yesterday's fast food. But think about how integral they are to our lives. They help us create art and write letters. They are vital tools of communication. In this episode, we pay respect to the humble pencil. With the help of Joya Cooley, Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Cal State Fullerton, we pay respect to the humble pencil. Not only does she reveal how it sticks to paper, but she also tells us the secrets of erasing too.

Do you have a head-scratcher you want us to answer? Submit your own Moment of Um questions at BrainsOn.org/contact.

Jan 24, 2022
Why are T. rex arms so tiny?
00:04:23

The T. rex is the embodiment of ferocious: razor sharp teeth, claws and a taste for blood. If you were running away from one of these beasts, you might not even notice its tiny arms. But there they are, in every recreation, almost comically small arms. So what gives? Paleontologist Bhart-Anjan Bhullar sets us straight on this not-so-tiny question.

Do you have a head-scratcher you want us to answer? Unlike T. rex, you can scratch your head, and when you’re done, submit your Moment of Um question at BrainsOn.org/contact.

Jan 24, 2022
Why are giraffe tongues blue?
00:03:50

Giraffes are known for a few key features: their long necks, beautiful camouflage and the dark tongue they use to strip leaves off branches. Steve Gerkin, interpretive programs manager at the North Carolina Zoo, visits the show to tell us why we think their tongues are that shade. Hint: humans share this trait with giraffes!

Do you have a head-scratcher you want us to answer? Submit your own Moment of Um questions at BrainsOn.org/contact.

Jan 24, 2022
Introducing Moment of Um
00:01:27

Say hello to the Moment of Um, the new podcast from the makers of Brains On, Smash Boom Best and Forever Ago. Find the answers to those head-scratching questions that seem to pop up out of nowhere. Bite-sized episodes come out every weekday - the perfect brain snack!

Jan 10, 2022