These Are The Most Common Misconceptions About Our Universe, And Why They’re Wrong


You’d think that in the age of the internet, where more information than we can possibly consume in several lifetimes is at our fingertips, stubborn myths from the past would die away.


But who among us still thinks the Great Wall of China is visible from space, and that it’s a bad idea to pick up a lost baby bird because its mother would reject it?

This awesome infographic breaks down 52 common misconceptions about life and the Universe, and let’s just say, sharks aren’t as lucky as you might think.

There’s lots to cover here, so let’s go over some of the big ones.

Myth #24: MSG is bad for you

This myth stems from a paper published in the 1960s, but it wasn’t until popular actor, Lorne Green, very publicly collapsed outside a Chinese restaurant in 1972 that it was cemented in people’s brains.

The flavour additive has been demonised for decades, but extensive testing has failed to show any definite links between MSG and negative health effects (unless you’re particularly sensitive to it).

Myth #27: Evolution is just a “theory”

As this equally awesome infographic explains, evolution might be a theory, but there’s no “just” about it.

In everyday language, “theory” might mean a hunch or a guess, but in science, a theory is an idea that’s passed the toughest tests that researchers can throw at it, and has lived to tell the tale.

“Theory” in science represents the highest amount of certainty we have.


Myth #30: Glass is a liquid

We wish it were that simple. The reality is that the atomic structure of glass is way more complicated than that.

As Derek explains in this Veritasium video, at school, we’re taught that there are three basic states of matter: solid, liquid, and gas. But the fact is that glass is none of those – it’s an ‘amorphous solid’.

Myth #32: Shaving thickens hair


Rejoice – for this is a total misconception, and scientists have actually known that since the 1920s.

It might feel like your hair comes back thicker and darker after a shave, but that’s just because of the shape of the stubble that grows back – its blunt ends feel coarser to the touch, but as the hair grows out, the end tapers and softens once more.

Here are 52 of the most common misconceptions (click here for a zoomable version).

Let’s put these to bed once and for all:

A version of this article was first published in June 2017.


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