From PI: “10 common misconceptions in physics”

Perimeter Institute
Perimeter Institute

The true power of science is that it perpetually refines our understanding based new evidence.

Apr 26, 2017
No writer credit

A key part of a scientist’s job is to question everything – including the things we think we know.

Through the ages, many ideas considered “facts” have been revealed as common misconceptions. To name a few: the Earth is flat (nope), your tongue has taste “zones” (that map of the tongue you remember from elementary school is wrong), and lightning can’t strike the same place twice (a small area in Venezuela gets roughly 1.2 million strikes each year).

Indeed, one of the most common scientific misconceptions is that science is full of facts. Rather, science is a field in which the best current models of understanding can either be supported or disproved by evidence.

Here, we debunk a few of the more common scientific misconceptions.

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The Event Horizon Telescope Initiative at Perimeter Institute, led by Faculty member Avery Broderick, will analyze and interpret the torrent of data collected by the network’s telescopes, generating humanity’s first image of a black hole and testing fundamental concepts in our understanding of spacetime.

Event Horizon Telescope Array

Event Horizon Telescope map

The locations of the radio dishes that will be part of the Event Horizon Telescope array. Image credit: Event Horizon Telescope sites, via University of Arizona at https://www.as.arizona.edu/event-horizon-telescope.

Arizona Radio Observatory
Arizona Radio Observatory/Submillimeter-wave Astronomy (ARO/SMT)

ESO/APEX
Atacama Pathfinder EXperiment (APEX)

CARMA Array no longer in service
Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-wave Astronomy (CARMA)

Atacama Submillimeter Telescope Experiment (ASTE)
Atacama Submillimeter Telescope Experiment (ASTE)

Caltech Submillimeter Observatory
Caltech Submillimeter Observatory (CSO)

IRAM NOEMA interferometer
Institut de Radioastronomie Millimetrique (IRAM) 30m

James Clerk Maxwell Telescope interior, Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA
James Clerk Maxwell Telescope interior, Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA

Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano
Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano

CfA Submillimeter Array Hawaii SAO
Submillimeter Array Hawaii SAO

ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array
ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array, Chile

Future Array/Telescopes

Plateau de Bure interferometer
Plateau de Bure interferometer

South Pole Telescope SPTPOL
South Pole Telescope SPTPOL

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Watch Perimeter’s curious cartoon duo, Alice and Bob, explore why the moon doesn’t fall down.

Uploaded on Oct 13, 2009

Why doesn’t the moon fall down? Join Alice & Bob in nine fun-filled, animated adventures as they wonder about the world around us. Alice and Bob in Wonderland premiered at Perimeter Institute’s Quantum to Cosmos Festival. http://www.q2cfestival.com.

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Watch “As We Enter a New Quantum Era,” a public lecture on the incredible advances (and potential pitfalls) of the quantum computing revolution, delivered by Perimeter Institute Associate Faculty member Michele Mosca.

Published on Oct 6, 2016
In his public lecture at Perimeter Institute on Oct. 5, 2015, Michele Mosca (Institute for Quantum Computing, Perimeter Institute) explored quantum technologies – those that already exist, and those yet to come – and how they will affect our lives.

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Check out “20 illuminating, enlightening, day-brightening facts about light.”

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Watch Alice and Bob explore where energy comes from.

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Read “What we know (and what we don’t) about dark matter.”

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See the full article here .

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About Perimeter

Perimeter Institute is the world’s largest research hub devoted to theoretical physics. The independent Institute was founded in 1999 to foster breakthroughs in the fundamental understanding of our universe, from the smallest particles to the entire cosmos. Research at Perimeter is motivated by the understanding that fundamental science advances human knowledge and catalyzes innovation, and that today’s theoretical physics is tomorrow’s technology. Located in the Region of Waterloo, the not-for-profit Institute is a unique public-private endeavour, including the Governments of Ontario and Canada, that enables cutting-edge research, trains the next generation of scientific pioneers, and shares the power of physics through award-winning educational outreach and public engagement.

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