5 Famous Scientific Theories That Were Proven Wrong (Part-2)
- Jan 03, 2017
- Sudipto Das
We did promise in our previous article (5 famous scientific theories that were proven wrong (Part-1)) that part 2’s going to come up soon. Well, here it is. Let’s go through 5 more of the same without further ado.
1. The Martian canal theory
The 19th-century scientists believed that a network of canals exist on Mars. Those canals were first discovered by an Italian astronomer named Giovanni Schiaparelli in the year 1877. This discovery became some sort of a phenomenon. Scientists drew maps that traced those paths in detail. And then another absurd theory came into existence from Percival Lowell, an astronomer and a mathematician. Lowell said that these canals represented a sophisticated irrigation system. Such a theory failed to gain prominence in modern days.
The Martian canals are proven to be some sort of a myth. With the advent of technology and advanced microscope, it has been found that the structures resembling the canals are just a form of optical illusion caused by dust blown across the surface of Mars by heavy winds.
Phrenology was once a popular and well-explored branch of neuroscience. Phrenology supporters used to believe that individual traits of character, whether aggression, intelligence etc. used to originate from specific parts of the brain. The concept is made in such a way that said that larger that specific area of the brain is, the more likely it becomes for the person to behave in a specific way. This concept is rejected by modern science.
Modern science has found out this fact that most personality traits cannot be traced to a specific location in the brain. Phrenology claimed that these traits are located in very specific locations in the brain and this concept was totally rubbished by modern science. Phrenology nowadays is regarded as a myth and a blatant mistake because it is also believed that this form of study was once used as a form of racism (most infamously by the Nazis).
3. Cold fusion
The conditions required for creating nuclear energy generally require extreme temperatures. Consider the sun and you’ll easily realize how nuclear energy can be created. But previously, there was this notion called cold fusion which states that nuclear energy can be created from a reaction occurring in room temperature. The concept of “cold fusion” was ridiculously simple indeed but the supposed implications are undoubtedly more than spectacular.
According to cold fusion, if a nuclear reaction can be performed in room temperature, the required energy might be possible to create without creating all those dangerous wastes that are associated with nuclear reactions. This theory might sound pretty avant-garde to you but this one almost became a reality when two electrochemists Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann published some sort of an experimental result where they claimed to have achieved this immense feat with Palladium in 1989. Their experiment was one where electric current was passed through sea water and Palladium.
This hypothetical concept of cold fusion quickly died down once other scientists tried to replicate the Fleischmann-Pons experiment. Most of the scientists failed to get the desirable results and the original research paper was scrutinized closely for unethical activities. Pons and Fleischmann were accused heavily and were also called sloppy and unethical.
Although “cold fusion” is associated with a whole lot of controversies, it can be said that the idea isn’t necessarily incorrect. The idea is definitely good but the execution’s a big problem. Nowadays, cold fusion is considered a part of fringe science or more specifically, we should say a part of science fiction. But that has not stopped modern day scientists to look into this matter. Modern day scientists are trying to open up new ways through research and experiment to achieve this far-fetched concept of cold fusion. But as long as it doesn’t become a reality, the concept of cold fusion remains to be a part of the myth.
4. Einstein’s theory of static universe
We all know this fact that our universe was created as a result of the Big Bang. But before this theory got approved, it was believed that the size of our universe was some sort of an unchanging constant. The ideas was such that the universe had always been of a specific size and would continue to remain as the same. This theory of static universe is often called “Einstein’s Universe” because he argued in favor of this theory.
The static universe theory was troublesome from the start. Lately, it has been found that the universe keeps on expanding and would continue to do so. There was also this Edwin Hubble’s concept called redshift that put the final nail in the coffin of the static universe theory.
5. The light-bearing aether
The aether was considered to be some sort of a mysterious substance through which light was thought to be transmitted throughout the Universe. Greek philosophers used to believe in the fact that light required some sort of a delivery system. Even deep space is believed to have a whole lot of aether.
The theory of luminiferous aether was slowly phased with the advent of more sophisticated theories. Certain experiments in refraction and diffraction of light phased out the theory of light-bearing aether.
So we hope you enjoyed all that. We’ll bring this article to an end now. Hope you had a great read. Happy New Year to you once again. Ciao!
Sudipto writes technical and educational content periodically for wizert.com and backs it up with extensive research and relevant examples. He's an avid reader and a tech enthusiast at the same time with a little bit of “Arsenal Football Club” thrown in as well. He's got a B.Tech in Electronics and Instrumentation.
Follow him on twitter @SudiptoDas1993
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