Questions for ‘Cool Jobs: A world aglow’


Chemist Matt Liptak and doctoral student Morgan Cousins look at a test tube of molecules. When put in thicker fluids, the molecules glow bright green.

Joshua Brown

To accompany feature ‘Cool Jobs: A world aglow’


Before Reading:

1.  Where does most light on Earth come from?

2.  What animals can you think of that emit their own light?  

During Reading:

1.  What does the term bioluminescence mean?  

2.  Why is it valuable for glass squid to be able to emit light around their eyes?

3.  What are three purposes for which animals give off light?

4.  What is the name of the chemical reaction that many animals use to generate light?

5.  What were Sweeney and her colleague Amanda Holt surprised to discover about the light-emitting cells around glass squids’ eyes?

6.  What is fluorescence, and what is one animal that uses it to give off light? 

7.  What normally happens when fluorescent molecules become more “relaxed”? What was different about the molecules Ivan Aprahamian was studying?  

8.  What did Liptak and Aprahamian discover about how a fluid’s viscosity affected molecules’ behavior?  

9.   What is sonoluminescence, and how does it create light? 

10.  How might scientists use sonoluminescence to create cleaner forms of energy?

After Reading:

1.  What are some ways in which the ability to generate light would be useful in your life? What would be some risks of doing so?

2.  The story discusses how scientists’ work to understand how bubbles emit light — or sonoluminescence — might lead to cleaner forms of energy. What are some other forms of “clean” energy that you know about, and how do they work?