4 Scientific Ideas Everyone Should Know

Throughout history, scientists around the world have developed scientific laws and theories to help us better understand the world around us. Some of these ideals were eventually overturned, others improved, but the truth is that many of these principles have stood the test of time and are still around, and it is important that everyone knows at least a little about them.

The folks at How Stuff Works have published an interesting list of laws and scientific theories that everyone should know - or at least understand the general idea - even if you have no plans to venture into quantum physics or cosmology. Check out four of these ideas below:

1 - Theory of Evolution and Natural Selection

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This is a theory that, although it was presented in the 19th century, still provokes discussions. But aside from the fight between creationists and evolutionists, according to most scientists, all living things that inhabit the earth are descendants of a common ancestor. However, for the gigantic variety of existing organisms to exist, some of these beings had to evolve into different species.

According to the theory, this evolution occurred through mechanisms such as genetic mutations, which gave rise to some new features in organisms of the same species. Thus, the differentiations that offered greater chances of survival for a given creature came to prevail - that is, “natural selection” occurred over the others, eliminating the least adapted species from the environment.

2 - Law of Universal Gravitation

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Although we don't even think about this law, when it was proposed by Isaac Newton over 300 years ago, it caused a real revolution. The idea, basically, is that between two or more bodies there will always be a force of attraction between them - the famous gravity - which is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of their distances, always directed in the direction and direction. of their centers.

This law explains why the hot gases of the stars stick together rather than dissipate throughout the universe, and the planets remain in their orbits. In addition, the Universal Gravitation Law is especially useful today when we need to send satellites to orbit around the earth, for example.

3 - General Theory of Relativity

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Formulated by the genius Albert Einstein, General Theory of Relativity simply changed the way we understand the universe by presenting the idea that space and time are not absolute, and that gravity is not just a force applied to a given mass or mass. object. Instead, according to Einstein, any mass has the power to bend spacetime. But, how to understand this madness?

Imagine that you are inside a spacecraft orbiting the earth. Although it seems that you are traveling in a straight line through space, the truth is that the gravity of our planet is bending spacetime around the rocket, causing you to move forward and appear to orbit the earth. But in addition to curving space, the mass of our planet also makes the distance shorter and the time longer.

Thus, the General Theory of Relativity concludes that both time and space are elastic and are interconnected, and that any mass or velocity of a body influences both (spacetime), altering the passage of time or the distance between the bodies.

4 - Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle

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Einstein's theory helped us understand the universe by bringing the idea that space and time are flexible. With this idea in mind, Werner Heisenberg concluded that it was impossible to know for sure two properties of a particle simultaneously, that is, considering an electron as an example, if we can measure its position in space, we cannot know what velocity was achieved. for this particle.

However, according to quantum theory, electrons and most subatomic particles behave as particles and waves at the same time. Therefore, if we measure the position of an electron, we are treating this element as a particle located at a specific point in space with an uncertain wavelength.

However, if we measure this particle as a wave, we can determine its particle, but not its location. This principle is called wave-particle duality, and was introduced by Niels Bohr - one of Einstein's "peers" - some time later, helping to explain Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle.

* Posted on 8/15/2013