RICHARD GIBSON

Freelance Writer and Editor

Partwork series for Eaglemoss Publications Ltd

SMART MATERIALS

 

SUPERGLUE

 

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Superglue, one of the world’s most successful and effective adhesives, was actually discovered by accident. During World War II, scientists working for Kodak were trying to make a synthetic thread to replace spider silk in gun sights. They were experimenting with a group of chemicals known as cyanoacrylates (pronounced sigh-er-no-ack-ri-lates), but found that they were too sticky to work with, so they abandoned that idea and moved on to other things.

MEAN BODY MACHINE

 

SUFFERING SCIENTISTS

 

HALL OF FAME: John Hunter

Lived: 1728–1793

Nationality: Scottish

Claim to Fame: Pioneering anatomical research – founder of the Hunterian Museum  

Don’t mention: Arguing.

 

John Hunter, one of the leading surgeons of the 18th century, began as a troublesome, rebellious boy, with no interest in his education, went on to become a skilled surgeon, established a medical school, and made many important discoveries to do with anatomy. He is also known as the founder of the Hunterian Museum, which now belongs to the Royal College of Surgeons in London, and contains over 50,000 specimens.

NUCLEAR NASTIES

 

SPLITTING THE ATOM

All matter is made up of particles called atoms. These are made of three smaller types of particles: electrons, protons and neutrons. 

A diagram of an atom looks rather like an egg. The electrons orbit round the outside, making the shell, with the protons and neutrons inside, like the yolk – called the ‘nucleus’ of the atom. 

All atoms have an equal number of protons and electrons, and their oppposite charges make them attract one another and hold the atom together. 

Electrons have a negative electrical charge (-), and the protons have a positive charge (+). Neutrons have no charge of either kind. They are free of charge.