Top Ten Strangest Science Facts You Really Ought to Know by Julia Golding, author of The Curious Crime.
The universe is a very strange place. I knew that before I started researching the history of science for The Curious Crime, but not quite how strange it would turn out to be! Investigate just a little and you quickly find out that reality is far stranger than anything fiction can dream up. My search for the Quest went from the cave artists of 35 000 years ago, via the Ancient Greeks, to the Islamic scholars and medieval monks, Galileo and friends, Newton and the Royal Society, Darwin and his contemporaries, right up to the present day. I’ve written a book on each, packed full of facts and fun, but here is a teaser of some of the strange facts you really ought to know!
1. Biology - Like animals? Then my first pick will please you: snoring dolphins, 4th century BC in Ancient Greece. In what was possibly the first ever live capture, mark and release zoological study, Aristotle investigated dolphins and found they make noises in their sleep. He suggested it was snoring. Modern zoologists agree that sleeping dolphins do make sounds (though they no longer call it snoring – shame!).
2. Physics - The first person to prove a heavier object does not fall faster than a lighter one was Galileo, right? No, wrong! Forget the Leaning Tower of Pisa experiment, Galileo was beaten to this conclusion by a thousand years. John Philoponus of Alexandria (Egypt) in 6th century AD carried out the same experiment and wrote up his findings. The reason you haven’t heard of him is that no one believed him because he was saying that Aristotle got it wrong and they didn’t like that. Galileo read John’s work though, so maybe John helped the Italian genius finally get rid of the (wrong) idea that heavier things fell faster?