Check out these surprising science facts you didn't learn at school! From interesting facts about planet earth to other things you didn't know, this top 10 list of strange facts is amazing!
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10. Blood cells circulate the body in 60 sec
You probably learnt the basics of how circulation works in school- the heart is responsible for pumping it past the lungs so it can absorb oxygen. It goes around your body to provide nutrients to cells and remove waste products, then back to the heart again. But it’s unlikely they went into the detail of how long this process actually takes- partly because focusing too much on large volumes of blood is gross for kids, and also because the numbers get a bit complicated.
The average amount of blood in a human body is about 5.6 liters, which is 6 quarts. We know that a healthy heart pumps about 2,000 gallons, or 7,500 liters each day if the average heart rate is around 70 beats per minute. This is the equivalent to 83 gallons an hour, and just under 6 quarts per minute- so it takes just sixty seconds for the blood to circulate once. This can be changed of course- exercise will significantly increase the speed, and lying on the couch would slow down the whole process. Which is why it’s good to get up and walk around!
9. The Triple Point of Water
We all know that water has a melting and freezing point at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and a boiling and condensation point at 212 degrees, and we also know that at sea level these temperatures are constant, and water has to exist in one of these states, right? Or I guess we are supposed to know these things! I kind of forgot some of them since it’s been awhile since I’ve been in school.
The truth is that things aren’t necessarily that simple, as there is a temperature at which water can exist as all three.
You probably also know that with altitude, water starts to boil at a lower temperature, but at extreme heights, or low pressures, things get really weird. It’s known as the triple point, which in thermodynamics is described as the temperature and pressure at which the three phases of a substance coexist in thermodynamic equilibrium. With water, this is at 21.018 degrees Fahrenheit, and a pressure of 0.006 atmospheres, which is a fraction of what we see at ground level. In these conditions water can exist as either solid, liquid or gas, and all three can occur next to each other.
8. Black Holes aren’t black… or holes!
Black holes are an often misunderstood phenomenon in space that, because of their name, have a reputation that is far more mystical than is the actual reality. They aren’t actually black, they definitely are not holes, and they don’t even suck in everything that passes by. Some things have been known to escape their pull.
Black holes are, in fact, incredibly dense formations in space where matter has been squeezed into such a small area that they exert a strong gravitational pull. Quite often they are the result of a dying star, and can be as small as an atom, or as large as 1 million times the size of our own sun. All of them are powerful enough to trap light, which is why they appear invisible against the night sky, but they emit all sorts of other particles that scientists are able to detect. X-Ray telescopes, for example, are able to see emissions of electromagnetic radiation emerging from the poles.
7. Things can travel faster than light
In school we are, quite rightly, told that light is the fastest moving thing in the universe, and that Einstein’s theory prohibits us from travelling faster than light. But there are ways to get around this problem, and some particles do actually travel faster than light!
The speed of light is 300,000 km/sec, but this is only true when it is in a vacuum. Many objects are able to interfere with the direction and speed of light—for example, photons only travel about three quarters of that speed through water. Therefore, for something to travel faster than light, you must first slow the light down, and then things become more possible. That’s exactly what happens in nuclear reactors.
The energy released in nuclear fission propels some of the particles to near light speeds. Around the reactors are insulating materials, which slow down light but not these particles, so in these cases they will travel faster than the light particles that are surrounding them. This causes a blue glow, and is the reason why nuclear reactors glow in the dark.
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