As I am getting tired of seeing so many
misconceptions about science still being thrown around, I have decided to make a short post to address
5 of the most common misunderstandings regarding the area of Physics.
So, sit back and enjoy. Here we go:
In atoms, electrons mysteriously dissapear to reappear on a different orbit.
Actually, the electron's excistence is governed by a mathematical concept called, probability wave function. Since electrons are so small, they fall
within Heisenberg's Uncertainty principle, meaning that we cannot measure all its properties (for instance, say, its position) with certainty. But
what we can do is guess what is the most probable position of the electron. The formula to do so is called a probability wave function. When the
electron "jumps" from one orbit to another, its existence is not destroyed - it actually becomes a mix of the two probability states, say 50% of the
orbit 1's mixed with 50% of the orbit 2's.
Reality does not exist unless you observe it.
This misunderstanding spring from an incorrect interpretation of the quantum model (QM). The misconception spreaded even quicker as sensationalist
journalists and misguided scientists (or perhaps misguided journalists and sensationalist scientists) kept on repeating it to the
not-so-scientifically-inclined masses of population. The truth is, in physics, "observation" doesn't have the same meaning as it does in vulgar
english. In physics, "observation" is the action of taking a measurement of a target using devices such as electron microscopes. And since electron
microscopes send, well, electrons at the target, well the mere act of "observing" (scientific meaning here) a target will affect said target if the
latter is small enough to be kicked off by the impact of an electron. But for bigger objects such as trees and people and planets, the impact of an
electron will hardly affect their position. This is why larger objects obey Newtonian and Einsteinian laws; for the QM applies only for particles
subject to Heisenberg's uncertainty formulas. Additionally, if reality really did stop existing once one stopped observing it, then major causality
problems would arise. For instance, since an embryo has no way to observe the entire mother, then the entire mother (cause for the embryo's existence)
would not exist... casusing the embryo to stop existing!
Gravity is a form of magnetism.
The two are actually separate forces under normal conditions. Gravity is actually a bump in spacetime caused by mass, not magnetism. Everyday items
can be used to test this. One of the simplest experiments involves a magnet, a piece of wood weighting 1 gram, and a piece of iron weighting 1 gram.
Put the magnet near the piece of wood. Now remember that both the wood and the iron objects have the same total mass. If the magnet really is creating
a bump in spacetime (an "artificial gravity" field), and if gravity really is magnetism, then it should attract the piece of wood just as easily as
the piece of iron.
Collision of high-energy particles causes earthquakes and/or widespread time slips.
The highest energy such collision have generated until now is 13 TeraElectronVolts. This is roughly equal to the combined impact of 13 mosquitoes in
flights. So, no, these kind of collisions are no where near to be energetic enough to trigger tectonic plates movements. As for the black holes that
were created during such collisions, they are unlikely to swallow up the Earth or shift it on the Time axis. The reason is, they are small. Like,
small as a particle. And since black holes evaporate, these kind of black holes are very quickly overcome by evaporation through Hawkins Radiation.
Additionally, their limited mass and radius (the two are actually linked) makes their capability to "swallow" matter very limited - they would be very
lucky if they could swallow a whole hydrogen atom, let alone the entire Earth.
Electromagnetic waves are a form of sound waves.
The two carry frequencies, the two carry amplitudes, the two carry phases, etc. but there is a very important difference between light and sound:
light is a periodic oscillation of an electric field with a magnetic field, and sound is a periodic compression of matter such as air. This is why
sound does not travel in empty space, that is, in a vacuum; and this is why light can. Vacuum is the absence of matter - perfect for light to travel
(no obstacles! ) but a nightmare for transmission of sound (nothing to compress! ). Some of you might have heard about the so-called "sounds" from
Saturn - be aware that these "sounds" were actually electromagnetic radiations which very human sound engineers have duplicated as sounds, transposing
the frequency and the amplitude so that the manmade sound waves matched that of the electromagnetic signal, and, furthermore (since human hearing has
a limited range), pitch-shifted the resulting file several octaves so to make it hearable by everyday people. The difference between sound and light
is also the main reason why light travels several orders of magnitudes faster than sound.
Well, this concludes my short clarification of some of the most persistent misunderstandings of science. I hope you enjoyed the read,
At Time's End,
edit on 5-6-2015 by swanne because: (no reason given)