10 erroneous hypotheses about the structure of the world

Ancient misconceptions, such as the Sun revolving around the Earth, or more modern ones - for example, that Venus is covered with greenery and suitable for life - were refuted with the development of astronomy and astronautics. What other well-known scientific hypotheses turned out to be erroneous?

Planet Volcano. A 19th-century French astronomer Urbain Le Verrier could not explain the strange orbit of Mercury, and made the assumption that there is another planet near the Sun - Volcano. There were even several reports of observing a mysterious planet, but they all contradicted each other. In the 20th century, the theory of relativity dispelled the mystery of the orbit of Mercury, and with it the theory of Vulcan.

Spontaneous generation is a hypothesis that has been believed for millennia. This refers to the appearance of living organisms not from other organisms, eggs or seeds, but from an inanimate environment. Even Aristotle believed that the larvae of flies spawn in the corpses of animals. And although the question of the origin of life on Earth remains open, basically this theory is refuted.

The expanding Earth is a surprisingly popular idea that existed right up to the middle of the 20th century. It was believed that the movement of the continents was due to the fact that the Earth is gradually increasing in volume. This hypothesis was seriously considered by Charles Darwin. A study of tectonic plates in the 1960s and later proved that the Earth did not change in size for at least 400 million years.

Phlogiston is a hypothetical element that fills all combustible substances. Chemists of the 17th century assumed that it was he who provided the combustion, and was also responsible for various processes in metals, for example, for the formation of rust. The phlogiston theory was supplanted by oxygen theory in the 1770s.

Martian canals. In 1877, Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli announced that he could make out mysterious straight lines on Mars and called them “channels”. Later, a theory was formulated that the channels are of artificial origin and are used by Martians to irrigate the planet. In the 20th century, the hypothesis was refuted - the lines turned out to be an optical illusion.

The ether is a mysterious medium, in the existence of which many great scientists believed, for example, Aristotle, Rene Descartes and Thomas Jung. True, they all understood the ether in different ways - as an analogue of the vacuum, the primordial substance or “transport” for light. These theories were extremely popular, but after lengthy research received a refutation.

Tabula rasa - the theory that a person is born like a "clean sheet", without any mental and sensory content, receiving it only during adulthood. It was formulated by Aristotle and widespread until the end of the 20th century. Even a thorough study of the genetic mechanisms and transmission of hereditary traits could not finally convince the proponents of this hypothesis of its fallacy.

Phrenology is one of the first and most famous pseudosciences that determines the mental qualities of a person by the shape of the skull and the size of the brain. Phrenologists claimed that the more a person has a brain, the more information he can save. Further development of neurophysiology disproved these theses.

Stationary Universe. Einstein, of course, was one of the greatest scientists in the history of mankind, but he also happened to be mistaken. He believed that the Universe is motionless, its size remains unchanged, and it is restrained by a powerful anti-gravity field. After a long dispute with Einstein, this hypothesis was refuted by the Russian mathematician Alexander Fridman.

Cold fusion is the holy grail of chemists, the theory of nuclear fusion without ultrahigh temperatures. In 1989, Martin Fleishman and Stanley Pons stated that they had successfully carried out a nuclear force, but no one could repeat their experiment. At the moment, the hypothesis has not received conclusive evidence.


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