Some Science Facts

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Though many of you might hate science, I know that internally, you all love it when presented in the right way, and not in the form of test papers. Yucks!
So, here comes some 10 scientific nuggets that might interest you:

1. Dynamite
In 1867, Alfred Nobel discovered that mixing nitroglycerin with diatomaceous earth created a stable paste that could be sculpted into short sticks. [1]

The product was named dynamite after the Greek word dynamis which means “power”.

It was used by mining companies to blast through rock, cutting canals, and building railways and roads.

Alfred Nobel died in 1896.

His will stated that most of his fortune ($265 million in today’ money) should fund prizes in physics, chemistry, physiology, medicine, literature or peace to “those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind.”

2. Phonograph
Edison is responsible for many great inventions but this was his favourite. [2]

The phonograph was a machine for the mechanical recording and reproduction of sound.

The first words recorded were “Mary had a little lamb”.

Edison suggested many uses for this product- as a dictation machine, an aid for the blind, a music box, recording the voice of family members (family record).

But there is a particular use of the phonograph which Edison hadn’t predicted.

During World War 1, a special phonograph was created for the U.S army. And it was used to bring music to the soldiers and raise their spirits.

So, that’s how the recording industry was born.

3. Penicillin
On September 3, 1928, Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin, when he noticed a strange mould killing the bacteria in a Petri dish.


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4. Computers
The first computers were big and slow. But, in 1959, Jack Kilby’s invention of the integrated circuit allowed the development of smaller and faster computers.

He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics- the year 2000.

5. Sneakers
Modern sneakers use technology that was first invented for space suits.

6. Aurora
If you live in the extreme northern region of the world you might see an Aurora. A dazzling display of coloured lights that flicker in the sky at night.

But what causes this phenomenon?

When large eruptions happen in the sun, high-speed particles arrive at the Earth and go crash into the air molecules.

Auroras can also occur in other planets in our solar system (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune) and probably in exoplanets as well.

7. Flynn Effect
Twenty-eight years ago James Flynn, a researcher at the University of Otago in New Zealand, discovered an interesting phenomenon.

IQ scores have been increasing steadily since the beginning of the 20th century. Younger generations are performing better than older generations.

Flynn went on to examine intelligence test data from more than two dozen countries and found that scores were rising by 0.3 points a year. [3]

What’s causing this increase in IQ?

The researchers don’t have a definitive answer. But, some factors are improvements in education and nutrition.

In addition, people are reading more because of the new technology (computers, internet).

8. Decisions
We make more than 200 food decisions every day. Most of them the result of manipulation we don’t even notice. [4]

9. Video Games
Many studies have shown that playing video games regularly can stimulate neuronal growth and connectivity in certain regions of the brain. [5]

10. Octopuses
Octopuses have three hearts- two to pump blood to their gills and one to pump blood around the body.

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