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Stickied post

Please read this entire post carefully and format your application appropriately.

This post is for new panelist recruitment! The previous one is here.

The panel is an informal group of redditors who are either professional scientists or those in training to become so. All panelists have at least a graduate-level familiarity within their declared field of expertise and answer questions from related areas of study. A panelist's expertise is summarized in a color-coded AskScience flair.

Membership in the panel comes with access to a panelist subreddit. It is a place for panelists to interact with each other, voice concerns to the moderators, and where the moderators make announcements to the whole panel. It's a good place to network with people who share your interests!

You are eligible to join the panel if you:

  • Are studying for at least an MSc. or equivalent degree in the sciences, AND,

  • Are able to communicate your knowledge of your field at a level accessible to various audiences.

Instructions for formatting your panelist application:

  • Choose exactly one general field from the side-bar (Physics, Engineering, Social Sciences, etc.).

  • State your specific field in one word or phrase (Neuropathology, Quantum Chemistry, etc.)

  • Succinctly describe your particular area of research in a few words (carbon nanotube dielectric properties, myelin sheath degradation in Parkinsons patients, etc.)

  • Give us a brief synopsis of your education: are you a research scientist for three decades, or a first-year Ph.D. student?

  • Provide links to comments you've made in AskScience which you feel are indicative of your scholarship. Applications will not be approved without several comments made in /r/AskScience itself.

Ideally, these comments should clearly indicate your fluency in the fundamentals of your discipline as well as your expertise. We favor comments that contain citations so we can assess its correctness without specific domain knowledge.

Here's an example application:

   Username: /u/foretopsail
   General field: Anthropology
   Specific field: Maritime Archaeology
   Particular areas of research include historical archaeology, archaeometry, and ship construction. 
   Education: MA in archaeology, researcher for several years.
   Comments: 1, 2, 3, 4.

Please do not give us personally identifiable information and please follow the template. We're not going to do real-life background checks - we're just asking for reddit's best behavior. However, several moderators are tasked with monitoring panelist activity, and your credentials will be checked against the academic content of your posts on a continuing basis.

You can submit your application by replying to this post.

Stickied post

Hi r/AskScience! I'm Jennifer Francis, a research professor at Rutgers University. I study the Arctic - how and why it's changing so fast, and how rapid Arctic warming and ice loss will likely cause more frequent extreme weather events in mid-latitudes where most of us live. Think strings of bomb cyclones, drought, heat waves, and even long cold spells.

And I'm Eli Kintisch, a contributing journalist and host of Vox's THAW video series which explores the melting arctic in a series of three mini-docs. I got the chance to travel north in the middle of the Polar night on board a research vessel to share this story firsthand. We'll be on at 3 PM ET (19 UT), ask us anything!

Thanks to Vox and the r/AskScience mods for setting this up. We'll be answering questions from the u/vox account but signing off individually on each reply.


Dirac predicted antimatter. Mendeleev predicted gallium. Higgs predicted a boson. What are other examples of things whose existence was suggested before their discovery?

Moderator of r/askscience

Welcome to our weekly feature, Ask Anything Wednesday - this week we are focusing on Economics, Political Science, Linguistics, Anthropology

Do you have a question within these topics you weren't sure was worth submitting? Is something a bit too speculative for a typical /r/AskScience post? No question is too big or small for AAW. In this thread you can ask any science-related question! Things like: "What would happen if...", "How will the future...", "If all the rules for 'X' were different...", "Why does my...".

Asking Questions:

Please post your question as a top-level response to this, and our team of panellists will be here to answer and discuss your questions.

The other topic areas will appear in future Ask Anything Wednesdays, so if you have other questions not covered by this weeks theme please either hold on to it until those topics come around, or go and post over in our sister subreddit /r/AskScienceDiscussion , where every day is Ask Anything Wednesday! Off-theme questions in this post will be removed to try and keep the thread a manageable size for both our readers and panellists.

Answering Questions:

Please only answer a posted question if you are an expert in the field. The full guidelines for posting responses in AskScience can be found here. In short, this is a moderated subreddit, and responses which do not meet our quality guidelines will be removed. Remember, peer reviewed sources are always appreciated, and anecdotes are absolutely not appropriate. In general if your answer begins with 'I think', or 'I've heard', then it's not suitable for /r/AskScience.

If you would like to become a member of the AskScience panel, please refer to the information provided here.

Past AskAnythingWednesday posts can be found here.

Ask away!


All I could find is about how it has a thicker cell wall, extra DNA copies, and means to repair DNA damage drom radiation. So what else is in the reactor that it can eat to survive?


So I'm thinking that, because the ring system is essentially a bunch of particles and rocks in perpetual orbital motion around Saturn as the barycenter, if an asteroid collided with the ring at a roughly perpendicular angle, it would leave an essentially permanent hole.

Further, I'm guessing that the size of the hole would larger than the asteroids width due to the fact that it would knock some matter 'outwards' which would in turn collide with other matter causing what I'm imagining as an "orbital crater".

Looking for someone to set me straight and explain what would actually happen, and if its been observed already?


Is there something about the way planets work that changes when you get below the size cuttoff for "real" planets? Or is is just to preserve the tradition of having an easy to memorize number of planets?


Does Gamma Radiation refract in opaque substances, like what light does in glass/water and other substances?

If so can you figure out the refractive index of opaque substances?


So as I understand it, birds have evolved over time to have hollow bones as it reduces their weight and helps with flight. However, I would assume this makes the bird's bones more brittle as a result, so how do they not shatter on impact, particularly in regards to faster species taking ground-based prey?


Without their internal organs like the stomach, preserved or fossilized, how do we know?

Edit: Thank you all for your very informative answers!


I’ve seen multiple fire colours from natural heat and not copper, strontium or others. So why is it that we rarely (or don’t) see green fire?


I've always wondered how and why there is a buzzing noise produced particularly because different people produce different frequencies of buzzing.


If all matter began from hydrogen and helium, how did we end up with 120+ elements? Is it possible to create a specific element by mashing x amount of protons, neutrons, and electrons together? Obviously I know this is not how it works AT ALL but how could other elements form from just 2 elements?


If the neutron in the deuterium atom is needed to sustain the chain reaction in a hydrogen bomb explosion, why isn't it needed in the sun?

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