Monday, 23 February 2015

Top Ten Most Amazing Science Facts Ever!

Top ten best ever science facts:

Watching Big Bang Theory recently got me back into the incredible world of science. I loved watching Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey and went out and bought books on natural history, human history, geography, space, science and human biology.
cosmos-a-spacetime-odyssey tv series
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey - one of the best documentaries ever!

Once I finally took some time out to enjoy reading them, I realised they were more amazing than any work of fiction – though it’s too bad I can’t remember most of what I’ve read (so I also bought this book to help with that!). These facts come from a book that I believe should be on everybody’s shelf, Miles Kelly’s Space Encycolpedia. Concise but relatively comprehensive, I picked it up for a bargain at 'The Works':

Science Fact 1: Too small to believe

You can fit 2 billion atoms inside the full stop at the end of this sentence. See how many words Doctor Gremlin can fit inside a full stop in his Battle of the Brats here:
Doctor Gremlin Battle Brats funny children's book
Doctor Gremlin and the Battle of the Brats!

Inside each atom is mostly empty space with a few even tinier subatomic particles inside – if an atom was the size of Anfield Stadium, its nucleus would be smaller than a Subbuteo football!

Anfield from the air
Anfield from the air - on a subatomic level!

Science Fact 2: Driving on dinosaur juice

Mineral oils come from petroleum, which if formed under the ground over millions of years and made up from the bodies of tiny marine organisms like plankton – so the next time you’re in a car, just think, the engine’s being run on the remains of ancient creatures! Petroleum can also be used to make anything from DVDs to toothpaste!

Science Fact 3: A world without colour

Light travels in the form of photons. If you point a pin at the Sun, a thousand billion photons would hit the pinhead in a single second! When light shines on things, it makes them look like various colours because molecules in their surfaces reflect and absorb particular wavelengths of light.

beautiful colours
Beautiful colours... but are they real?

Science Fact 4: Robots inside us

Scientists are now designing nanobots (microscopic robots) which might actually be able to perform surgery inside someone’s body in the future. An electron microscope can focus on something just 1 nanometre (a billionth of a metre) and enlarge it 5 million times!

Science Fact 5: Deadly medicine

Of the 118 known elements in the Periodic Table, the heaviest are actually man-made.
Periodic Table
About 75% of elements are metals; iron is the most common while Mercury is the only one that is liquid at normal temperature and melts at -39 degrees – the first Emperor of China – the remarkable Qin – drank it to help make him live longer but it ended up killing him:

Qin: First Emperor of China
Qin: First Emperor of China
Hydrogen is the lightest element – a swimming pool full would weigh just 1kg – but it is the oldest element and still makes up 90% of the weight of the universe!

Science Fact 6: Colder than ice

When you hear someone cracking their knuckles, the sound you hear is actually bubbles of nitrogen gas popping inside fluid in the joints! Nitrogen becomes liquid at -196 degrees Celsius and is so cold it can be used to make ice cream – you can watch people make it sometimes at fancy restaurants:

Liquid nitrogen: making ice cream
Liquid nitrogen: making ice cream

Science Fact 7: Good vibrations

Sound is actually vibrations in the air. If you inhale helium gas, your voice becomes high-pitched because sound travels much faster in helium. It also travels much faster than air in liquids and even more so in solids. Here is an example of how your voice can travel differently through different things:

Science Fact 8: Keep your brain moist!

Water usually boils at 100 degrees Celsius but at the top of Mount Everest it takes just 68 degrees because air pressure is lower there. 85% of your brain is made up of water, as is 33% of your bones – so make sure you keep yourself hydrated or your brain will shrink!

Science Fact 9: Underwater elephants

Pressure is measured in ‘Newtons’ per square meter. The pressure at the center of the Earth (inside its core) is around 400 million Newtons, while a shark’s bite is 30 million. At the other end of the scale, the quietest sound measures 200 millionths of a Newton, while sunlight has a pressure of 3 millionths of a Newton! Water pressure at the bottom of the ocean (about 10km deep) is the same as having 7 elephants standing on your head:

Visit the bottom of the ocean: Imagine 7 elephants on your head!

The fluids inside our body have their own pressure and without them we would be crushed by the air around us!

Science Fact 10: Too hot to handle
A campfire burns at around 800 degrees, lava from a volcano at 1200. The surface of the Sun is 6000 while the Earth’s core is even hotter at 7000! However, lightning strikes at 30,000 (turning the air around it into plasma!), a murderous Hydrogen bomb can cause heat of over 40 million degrees and a Tritium bomb over 400,000,000!!!

Lightning turning air to plasma!

Well, I hope you enjoyed learning something amazing today – all we have to do is pick up a book, watch a documentary or even just talk a stroll around a park and take in all the weird and wonderful things all around us. There must be other forms of life all around the unimaginably vast Universe, but that doesn’t make what we have right now on Earth any less miraculous...

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