Welcome again to JJNN for Monday July 21st, 2008. Today is science day, but today is also a day off for me so it is lazy science day.
Today's news story can be found here. In southern Japan there is a prefecture named Hyogo prefecture. In south-western Hyogo prefecture there is a town called Sayou-chou. Sayou-chou is known for for a couple of things, but during this time of year everyone is talking about the sunflowers there. You can see a picture of what the sunflowers look like now below.
Looks nice, huh? All of the sunflowers are now in full bloom and everyone is going to go see them. The sunflower festival will go on until August, 3rd. You might want to buy your tickets now so that you can get there on time.
You may be thinking that it looks good, but that has nothing to do with science. That's not true. Science is everywhere. Lets look at the sunflowers. We could talk about things like how the sunflowers use carbon dioxide and sunlight to create energy for themselves and oxygen as a byproduct. We could also look at how sunflowers make themselves sexy for bees and other bugs in order to help spread pollen to other sunflower plants. We could also talk about heliotropism. That is a big word that means that sunflowers always keep themselves pointed towards the sun.
One thing that I do want to talk about quickly are the florets that are on the face of the sunflowers. You can see the florets well on the picture below.
Do you see how the florets (which are actually little flowers) are set in a circular pattern? Well there was a scientist and mathematician named H Vogel. The actual equation (thanks to wikipedia) is given here:
Just goes to show that math and science can be used to explain so many things in nature. The things that can't be explained now will eventually be explained with more research and time. Go science!
Any way, it is now time for the word of the day. Today's word is 向日葵(ひまわり). It is pronounced himawari and means sunflower. The kanji(Chinese characters that the Japanese people use) for sunflower is great. It means a hollyhock that always points towards the sun. It fits perfectly unlike a lot of the kanji floating around out there.
That's it for today. See you next time at JJNN.