Sunday, September 13, 2009

My Meniscus Hurts

The science debate for today was the meaning of "meniscus". I said it was the concave shape at the top of a container of liquid. Ross said it could be either concave or convex depending on some kind of pressure. Rich said his meniscus was in his knee.

Luckily Kiefer had his iPhone and was able to settle the debate on the spot.

It turns out Ross and Rich were both right. "Meniscus" is from the Greek word for "crescent". Several crescent-shaped things are called menisci.

A meniscus (in a container of liquid) can be either concave or convex depending on some pretty complicated things. The menisci in your knees are crescent-shaped pieces of cartilage. There are also menisci in your shoulders, wrists and jaw.

Meniscus is also a word used in optics. A lens with a concave surface on one side and a convex surface on the other side is called a meniscus lens.

What seemed like a pretty simple question wasn't at all. Next time we'll debate something easier like health care reform.


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