The most famous scientific failures in history

The saying 'failure is a successful mother' is probably right in the field of scientific research. In order to achieve a scientific achievement, researchers must perform countless experiments and suffer many failures before discovering the truth. Let Discovery magazine review some of the most famous failures in the history of human science.

Famous failures in science

Turn lead into gold?

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Although not successful, alchemy is considered a precursor to modern chemistry.(Photo: Discovery).

The idea of ​​turning lead into gold is quite crazy for you, but it is an ambition of ancient alchemists . At a time when people knew nothing about the nature of chemical elements, atomic numbers, or the Mendeleev periodic table, it was observed that chemical reactions produced ' miraculous ' phenomena like replacing change color, ignite, explode, evaporate, stretch or create odors; Since then, they have the idea of ​​being able to turn dull gray metal into a new, more beautiful, shining metal.

With that ambition, alchemists tried to find the ' golden stone ' - a type of stone only in their imagination - to turn their dreams into reality. Another ambition is the search for or preparation of ' immortality medicine '. Both of these ambitions never come from their imagination to reality.

Heavy objects fall faster than light objects?

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Aristotle was the one who gave the theory that "heavy objects fall faster than light, heavier objects fall faster".(Photo: Discovery).

Until the end of the 16th century, there was a popular concept at that time (Aristotle stated) that heavy objects would fall faster than light objects . However, Galileo Galilei did not believe it. He performed a number of experiments (presumed to be at the Leaning Tower of Pisa) as follows: Objects of different masses were dropped freely from the tower to the ground; By measurements and calculations, he concluded that the fall time of objects with different masses is the same if ignoring the resistance of the air. In other words, all different weights will fall at the same absolute speed in a vacuum.

Phlogiston theory and fire material (Phlogiston)

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Johann Joachim Becher - the father of elementalism.(Photo: Discovery).

Phlogiston theory is an outdated scientific theory, first introduced by Johann Joachim Becher in 1667. This theory holds that in addition to the classic Greek elements (fire, water, gas and earth), there is another element similar to fire called " fire element" (phlogiston).

According to Becher, all combustible materials contain phlogiston - a form of material without color, odor, and taste. The ' fire element ' will be released in the process of burning a material. Those who did not support this theory conducted a number of experiments and discovered some mistakes in this theory by Becher; such as the mass of many metals, such as magnesium, increased after being burned (although they are thought to have lost phlogiston in the burning process.) Today, science knows that there is no '. ' burning material ', which the phenomenon referred to by Becher is essentially an oxidation phenomenon .

Scientific calculation in the Bible

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The earth was before the Lord began to "be bright".(Photo: Discovery).

In the past, the Bible was widely recognized as a scientific work. People just believe everything written in the Bible without doubting its correctness.

Take an example of the age of the earth mentioned in this work. In the 17th century, a religious scholar studied the Bible and estimated that the creation work was done around 4004 BC, plus about 2,000 years into the 18th century, thus the age of the earth was only about 6,000 years.

However, modern science with many advanced techniques today has calculated the age of the earth is about 4.5 billion years.

Atoms are the smallest particles in the universe?

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Atoms once thought to be the smallest particles can no longer be divided. (Photo: Discovery) .

Since ancient times, people have discovered that all forms of matter are made up of smaller and separate units, or atoms . However, with primitive science-based experiments at the time, the atom was thought to be the smallest and indivisible particle.

It was not until the beginning of the 20th century that scientists discovered that in some physical interactions, atoms could be separated into smaller components, called subatomic particles. There are three types of subatomic particles that make up atoms: electronegative (Electron) electrons, electrons (Proton) electrons, positively charged, neutral electrons (Neutrons) without electricity, etc. , scientists find quarks, and Higgs .

The role of AND in genetics

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Double helix model of AND molecule was introduced by Watson and Crick in 1953. (Photo: Discovery) .

The existence of AND was discovered in 1869, but its role was not taken seriously because scientists thought that such a small molecule could not do anything great. Even by the mid-20th century, although there was evidence that DNA was genetic material , many scientists still ignored it and thought it was the new proteins that played a decisive role.

It was not until 1953 when Watson and Crick clarified the structure of DNA and nominated the central principle of molecular biology in 1957, describing the process of making protein molecules from AND, geneticists. begin to recognize and appreciate the importance of this small molecule.

Bacteria and infectious diseases

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Hand washing with antibacterial soap is a simple but effective job to prevent infectious diseases. (Photo: Discovery.)

Until the end of the 19th, doctors still didn't see the need for hand washing before holding a scalpel. Therefore, the surgery at that time often resulted in severe infection and necrosis .

At that time, infectious diseases were still attributed to ' bad air ', and the imbalance of body fluids like blood and bile . Until the 1860s, when Louis Pasteur confirmed the diseases Infections in humans and animals are caused by bacteria, so people are beginning to realize that doctors themselves are the agents that spread dangerous bacteria to patients. Later, Dr. Joseph Lister was thought to be the pioneer in performing wound sterilization and using disinfectants in the hospital.

Earth is the center of the universe

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Diagram of geocentric theory, in which the earth is in the central position, while other planets including the sun rotate it in circular orbit. (Photo: Discovery) .

In ancient astronomy, geocentric models are the theory that Earth is the center of the universe. This system is considered a standard model in ancient Greece, both agreed by Aristotle and Ptolemy, as well as most Greek philosophers that the Sun, Moon, stars, and planets may Observed with the naked eye, orbiting the Earth. Ancient Greeks also believed that the movement of planets followed a circle rather than an ellipse.

This view dominated Western culture until before the 17th century. Later geocosmicism was replaced by heliocentric theory of Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler.

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