Aquila Children's Magazine The Electric Issue - Page 2

Hello AQUILAnauts and welcome to this, our epic Electric edition of AQUILA. S ometimes in life all you need is a goal – an achievement to set your sights on. For some it might be as small as stuffing 24 marshmallows into your face while still being able to sing all the words to ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’, by Bonnie Tyler (don’t judge me, ed). For others it might be slightly more significant, something that takes time, effort and a big fat dollop of chutzpah to achieve. The history of science and exploration is chock full with men and women who adopted a goal (sometimes a very silly one) and just point blank refused to give up until the job was done. In 1959 the famous scientist Richard Feynman offered a prize of $1,000 to the first person to invent a motor no larger than 1/64th of an inch square. In so doing, he inspired the field of nanotechnology. Here at AQUILA HQ we love a hair-raising stunt, and this certainly fits the bill. Have a go at making little lightning in this month’s science scene. Harvey’s positively buzzing with excitement over this month’s topic, but what exactly is electricity anyway? Let’s find out. The story of electricity is full to the brim with big intellects and even bigger egos! Here Aquila tells the story of a world-altering rivalry: Thomas Edison, the Wizard of Menlo Park versus Nikola Tesla, the man who invented the 20th century. In 1975 the astrophysicist Stephen Hawking bet the physicist Kip Thorne that the X-ray source Cygnus X-1 did not harbour a black hole. In 1990 Hawking was forced to concede and pay up. Way back in 1870, the naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace accepted a challenge from John Hampden to prove that the world is round (it is). Using three objects placed three miles apart, Wallace was able to demonstrate this. Hampden accused him of cheating and Wallace ended up suing his adversary for libel! The CEO of Tesla, the billionaire Elon Musk, has recently set himself 100 days to build the world’s largest lithium ion battery plant for the people of South Australia. The challenge came about after South Australia’s renewable storage failed, causing an enormous blackout. Musk’s system will store and intermittently release energy into the state’s electrical infrastructure. If it works, the plant could provide enough energy to power 30,000 homes and businesses. If Elon fails to complete the project within the 100-day time limit, it’s free. The South Australian state government won’t have to pay a penny for it. Instead Monsieur Musk will bear the cost – that’s $50 million, or maybe more. Do you think Elon will achieve his goal? What crazy challenge have you set yourself? Why not write and let us know. We hope you have a newsworthy (but not too newsworthy) November. Don’t forget to join us back here in December for our plucky Polar Explorer issue. Over 200 years ago, during a cold, damp holiday in Switzerland, a young woman sat down to write a story ‘which would speak to the mysterious fears of our nature and awaken a thrilling horror – one to make the reader dread to look around.’ Wordworm investigates Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. BOO!