10 Popular and Common Science Misconceptions

All of us grow up believing in many scientific myths. From geography to astronomy, there are many accepted facts that are actually wrong. Very few of us know the truth behind these misconceptions. From blind bats to mermaids, there are thousands of scientific misconceptions. You may be surprised to know that these myths are still believed worldwide which are totally wrong. The following list is for those people who have less scientific knowledge. Scroll down and read more on common science misconceptions.

10. Mt. Everest is the World’s Tallest Mountain

Mt. Everest is the World's Tallest MountainPhoto credit: wikimedia

When we asked, which one is the highest and tallest mountain in the world? Everyone has the same answer, Mount Everest. It’s time to clarify the difference between tallest and highest mountain in the world. Mt Everest is the highest mountain in the world with the peak height of 8848 meters. And the world’s tallest mountain is the Mauna Kea located on the island of Hawaii. It is 4205 meters above sea level and most of the portion is underwater and its total length is 10,200 meters.

9. Penny Dropped from the Empire State Building Could Kill You

Empire State BuildingPhoto credit: wikimedia

This myth is so common in the United States. If you drop a penny from the Empire State of Building, this could kill a person or penetrate the ground surface. The fact behind it is: the speed of a falling penny (maximum speed = terminal velocity) is not enough to penetrate the ground surface or hurt anyone. There were many practices to test this misconception but everyone survives the hit of pennies.

8. Tomatoes are Vegetable

Tomatoes are VegetablePhoto credit: wikimedia

Tomatoes taste like a vegetable and considered as a veggie. For a long time, it has been a hot topic that tomatoes are vegetable or fruit. Now scientists have proved that a tomato is a fruit. It has low sugar content than any other fruits and mostly served as a salad or main course. Botanically, all vegetables are fruits and there is no such thing as vegetables.

7. Lightning Never Strike Same Place Twice

Lightning Never Strike Same Place TwicePhoto credit: wikimedia

This is an old science misconception that lightning never strikes the same place twice. Yes, it does and it is very common. Lightning mostly falls on the high trees or building. The Empire State building gets struck up to 100 times a year. The lightning is more likely to strike the taller objects, but it also depends on other factors such as metal body, salty water and moisture.

6. Polaris is the Brightest Star

Nearest Stars to the EarthPhoto credit: wikimedia

Polaris is a star located in the Ursa Minor constellation. Ursa Minor is a well-known and one of the oldest constellations in the sky. The fact is that the brightest star always on the north side. Many people consider it as the brightest star but this is a myth. The brightest star is Sirius and Polaris, located just above the Sirius and always directed toward the north direction. That is why the Polaris is also known as North Star.

Also read: Nearest Stars to the Earth

5. Friction Heat of Meteor

Friction Heat of MeteorPhoto credit: wikimedia

Do you also think that meteors are heated by friction while entering the atmosphere? It is not friction that heats them, it is the pressurized gas. Meteoroids moves with the maximum speed of 15 kilometers per second and there is a lot of gas in front of it. When a gas is compressed, it gets very hot. That is the real fact behind it.

4. Diamonds Made From Pressurized Coal

Diamond - Hardest Mineral in the WorldPhoto credit: wikimedia

Forget all what your teacher told about coal and diamond relation. There are many reasons that proved that diamonds are not formed from coal. The first reason is that diamonds were formed about two billion years ago and coal takes around 400 million years to form. The second reason is that diamonds need high temperature and high pressure to form and found more deeply in the earth’s crust. The third and main reason is that diamonds are pure form of carbon and coal is an impure mixture of organic materials.

3. All Bats Are Blind

All Bats Are BlindPhoto credit: wikimedia

I bet, you didn’t know that all bats can see and their vision varies at various levels. There are around 1100 bats species and some of them have excellent vision. This myth was arose because few species have echo location system through which they traced their path. They use their sense of hearing more than their eyes, which is the reason behind they are considered as blind species.

2. Human’s Five Senses

Human Five SensePhoto credit: wikimedia

All of us say that we have five senses- touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste. There are many other senses too such as sense to feel pain, imagination, common sense, memory and many more. Some say that we have up to 21 senses. Other than these, some include hunger, cold, itching, in this list. We have only five major senses and considered as the five senses of our body.

1. Different Colors of Blood

Different Colors of Blood - Common Science MisconceptionsPhoto credit: wikimedia

Recommended: 15 Technology Myths & Misconceptions You Must Know

All students have questioned in childhood that why the blood color change when it comes out of our body. It is a common scientific misconception that blood with less oxygen turns blue. When we get cut, the blood is exposed to oxygen present around and instantly turns red. This red color comes from the hemoglobin which binds with oxygen. And the real fact is that the color of veins is blue, not the color of blood.

Written by
Varun Kumar

Varun Kumar is a professional science and technology journalist and a big fan of AI, machines, and space exploration. He received a Master's degree in computer science from Indraprastha University. To find out about his latest projects, feel free to directly email him at [email protected] 

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