Top 10 SCIENCE FACTS No Longer Taught In Schools
Discovery is a fundamental aspect of scientific progression, but each new finding must also rain hell on a teacher’s lesson plan. Think about it, every change to what we once knew to be correct alters what children learn in school. It’s these changes in the curriculum that give us the content for this Archive of the top ten science facts no longer taught in schools.
Only Nine Planets
Nowadays, we’ve learned that space is a proverbial playground of extraterrestrial planets, to the point where it seems like a new one is discovered every week. Thinking back to schooling before the early 90’s, though, all that was ever talked about were the celestial bodies revolving around the Sun. Astronomers believed other planets existed beyond our nine neighbors, but it wasn’t until 1992 that the first exoplanet was physically discovered. The planet, 51 Pegasi b, got the ball rolling as, in the 15 years that have passed, over 3,000 exoplanets have been confirmed, with over 100 billion unconfirmed bodies believed to be within the Milky Way alone.
The Oceans of the World
If you happen to have a map nearby, take a look at it. Does it just show the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and Arctic Oceans? If so, it may be time to toss that sucker out as there are now a fifth ocean – the Southern Ocean. In 2000, the International Hydrographic Organization drew the boundaries for the latest ocean, categorizing it as any water located below 60° south. Though the IHO is a United Nation-recognized body with a membership of over 80 countries, its drawing of the Southern Ocean boundaries has been refuted by several nations who continue to only recognize the four original charted waters.
Brain Cells Don't Regrow
While interactions with certain people may have you believing differently, the concept that the human brain doesn’t grow new cells is an antiquated belief. A Cornell University study observed the regeneration of cells in a laboratory dish while additional research using adult mice saw the unexpected growth of dendrites or the branch-like projections on neurons, some doubling their length in two weeks. The process of new brain cell growth, or neurogenesis, is believed to be linked to improved moods and better memory and can combat some effects of aging. Combating neurogenesis can be a lack of sleep, stress, and medications.
The State of the Solar System
Much of what we believed about the Solar System has changed over the years, making it difficult for lesson plans to keep up. Among the multitude of discoveries is the possibility of water on Mars, a planet once thought to be dry and arid. In May of 2017, it was found that the space between Saturn and its rings is not filled with dust and debris as originally though, but is in fact empty. Additionally, along with being downgraded to a Dwarf Planet, Pluto was also found to have signs of a subsurface ocean.
The Tastebud Map
At one point in time, it was popular to think that the tongue had four specific receptors responsible for tasting food categorized as bitter, sweet, sour, and salty. It was believed that only the tips of our tongue could taste sweet food while the tastebuds in the back were reserved specifically for bitterness, but that couldn’t be any further from the truth. In fact, the roadmap to the tongue is far more complex and detailed with clusters of receptive cells located all over the tongue’s surface, each one capable of distinguishing different tastes.
There Are Only Five Senses
Believe it or not, ESP is not the sixth sense. According to a delving into the human physiology, taste, hearing, sight, smell, and touch are the basic senses, but an awareness of balance, pain, temperature, and pressure have since been included. it doesn’t even stop there, either, as researchers have expanded the human senses to include “non-traditional senses” like proprioception, which tells your body where your body parts are in relation to one another, tension sensors, stretch receptors, chemoreceptors, thirst, hunger, magnetoception, or the ability to detect magnetic fields, time and itching.
The Three Phases of Matter
Looking at a glass of water, we know that it is in its liquid form, whereas when it is ice, it’s a solid, and when it’s steam, it’s a gas; but recent research into how matter would react at extremely high temperatures and pressures has revealed a fourth phase – plasma. When placed under temperatures and pressures like those that occur on the Sun, electrons no longer move around the nucleus, leaving behind a positively charged ion. The atomic breakdown, loose electrons, and remaining ion result in a fluid-like substance, or plasma, capable of generating electro-magnetic forces.
Diamond is the Hardest Substance
Used in industrial drilling, the diamond was once considered the hardest substance, making it ideal for those difficult jobs. Though man-made nanomaterials have since robbed it of its title, the real upset came with simulations that showed wurtzite boron nitride as being 18% harder than diamond and mineral lonsdaleite at 58% harder. Determining the accuracy of this claim stems strictly from simulations as both materials are extremely rare in nature and difficult to produce in a controlled setting, but looking at the bond flexibility in the atomic makeup of wurtzite boron nitride has lent credence to the belief.
The Bohr Model
Mapping the atom has been a lengthy process and, through it, misconceptions have been made. Consider the universal symbol of the atom, where the electrons orbit the nucleus in a circular manner much like the Solar System model. While the model introduced by Niels Bohr seemed accurate, it was later determined that electrons move in a random fashion over a 3D plane. Bohr’s model, which was first conceived in 1913, is a simplistic form of a very complex process and fails to depict the proper motion of electrons and the energy levels in atoms with multiple electrons.
Paper Can Only Be Folded Seven Times
It may not have taken a large chunk out of the daily curriculum to discuss, but there is a very good chance that, at some point during science, the topic of folding paper popped up. It was once believed that paper could only be folded seven times before the energy needed to complete a crease became impossible to exert. With a standard piece of 8x11” (20x27 cm) paper, the surface area for the fold becomes too small to continue folding, but with larger samples, more than seven folds are possible – if not incredibly difficult. As MythBusters proved, it requires a little mechanical help to fold a football-field sized sheet of paper 11 times.