The world of science is truly a fascinating one. We look to science to understand many of life‘s mysteries and solve numerous problems. Many scientific facts have been learnt over the years, however; there are several conceptual misunderstandings about Science that persons continue to believe. Even intelligent and educated people get some scientific facts incorrect. Here are five such misconceptions.
1. Venous Blood is Blue
It is believed that oxygenated blood in the arteries is red but deoxygenated blood in the veins is blue. While oxygenated blood is a brighter red than deoxygenated blood, blood is red. In humans, blood is red due to the hemoglobin in red blood cells. To show the difference between veins and arteries, diagrams and models showing deoxygenated blood as blue but that’s about it. When looking at the skin, veins can appear blue or sometimes green because they are being viewed through a layer of skin. So unless you’re a horseshoe crab, snail or octopus, your blood is red.
2. Lightning Strikes
It is often thought that lightning never strikes the same place twice. If you ever paid attention to thunderstorms you would’ve already debunked this misconception. Lightning can strike the same place multiple times during the same weather phenomenon or at separate occasions. Take the Empire State Building for instance, as it gets struck by lightning about twenty-five times a year. In fact, tall objects have a higher chance of being struck by lightning. So while we may use the phrase to reassure someone that something bad that has happened won’t reoccur, just be reminded that there is no scientific basis for this when it comes to lightning.
3. The North Star is the Brightest
It is often believed that the North Star is the brightest star in the night sky. The North Star or Polaris is the star directly above the celestial pole. The celestial pole is the point in the night sky that does not move as the earth spins around and hence, indicates true north. In terms of brightness, Polaris ranks fiftieth. The brightest star is Sirius, the dog star, found in the northern hemisphere.
4. Diamonds Are Made From Coal
You’ve likely heard that “a diamond is a chunk of coal that did well under pressure”. Well while this may encourage someone to reach the status of the diamond, scientifically there is no truth to it. So how are diamonds formed? Diamonds, like coal, are formed underground under intense pressure and heat but that’s as far as the similarities go. Diamonds are pure forms or polymorphs of carbon. They are made entirely of minerals that contain carbon that have been heated and compressed to extreme levels. It is impossible to classify coal as a pure phase because it contains both carbon and plant matter. Diamonds come to the surface of the Earth from the mantle in a rare type of magma called Kimberlites.
5. We Use Only Ten Percent of Our Brains
The human brain is a complex organ and scientists are still trying to understand it fully. We often hear that we aren’t using the full capacity of the brain and only ten percent is used. This myth has formed the basis for Hollywood favorites. Scientists have used fMRI scans that show that simple daily activities require us to use almost the entire brain. The entire brain is constantly active as it is regulating, sensing, monitoring and interpreting for instance. Just think of it; if we only use ten percent, brain injuries wouldn’t be that much of a big deal.
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