i used to believe that if you got a piece of glass and melted it in a fire it would then turn into diamonds. I took a piece of melted glass, went into a bank and asked them how much it was worth....
For some reason, when I was a little kid I was convinced that if you hooked two nine volt batteries to each other, they'd explode violently and destroy anything within about 100 feet.
I used to believe (and carefully taught this to my even smaller brother) that all liquids were just different things dissolved in water. So engine oil, molten rock etc - all just something plus water.
Like others, I also reduced elements to water, and everything else. I thought all liquids had water, except mercury, and, strangely enough, milk. There was a milk mystique in my house.
When I was a little girl living in Washington State, we would somtimes drive past the Hanford Atomic Works in Eastern Washington. This was during the height of the Cold War, and there was lots of information floating around about the dangers of atomic radiation.
I was so scared that I used to hold my breath for as long as possible whenever we passed through the Hanford area. I thought that if I didn't inhale, the radiation coudln't "get" me.
When I was about 7 a teacher explained that the whole universe was made up of molecules, which were smaller than a pin head and that there was very little difference between one molecular structure and another. For years I believed that if I had an injection or pricked my skin with a needle then I would distort my molecular structure and turn into a table or something.
I knew different things happened at different temperatures, but I didn't know the difference between Celsius and Fahrenheit. So if water boiled at 100 degrees, and if you had a fever of 102 degrees, that meant you were sick because you were above boiling.
When I was about 7 I was playing with the trash burning barrel. My friend and I were throwing in sand and sticks into the burning barrell. All of a sudden there was a tremendous BANG! from the trashcan (I think it must have been a hairspray can that exploded.)
However, my friend and I were CONVINCED that we had created some special sand/stick/and rock combo that was quite explosive. No matter how we tried, be couldn't get the trash can to BOOM again.
I used to think that bartenders were scientists and when they were mixing drinks, they were really mixing chemicals and trying to poison people.
As a kid, my brother used to believe he could split atoms. And so, he would walk around wildly swinging a stick trying to hit some atoms. :)
When I was little, for a few years I used to marvel at the ways of the universe, such as the AMAZING coincidence that water boiled at exactly 100 degrees and froze at exactly 0 degrees. I just presumed it was natural, and it fascinated me.
Now, I heard that plants turn carbon dioxide into oxygen. People turn oxygen into carbon dioxide. And, when plants burn, they release carbon dioxide. So it seemed to me that if the trees stored up the CO2, we would equally store the O2. Thus, I felt that every human should be burnt after death to liberate their stores of oxygen.
I used to believe that local anesthetics were just some homemade brew that the particular dentist/surgeon used rather than an anesthetic restricted to a specific region. I just figured it out during my first year of medical school.
When I was in grade school we did a project where we put different kinds of rocks and dirt in a jar with water and watch them settle out over time. My teach explained that this is how sedimentary rock is made. So, I thought, if I kept the jar long enough, I would eventually make my own rock. My dad explained that it would take more than my life time for this to happen. So, I planned to pass the jar down to my ancestors (great inheritance, huh?), until it became a rock. This grand plan was thwarted, though, when my sister bumped the shelf if was on and toppled the jar onto the floor. To my mom's and my dismay, it was just mud.
When I was abouve 6 or 7, I once overheard my dad explaining to my mom the concept of splitting atoms to get energy.
For at least the next year or so, I constantly asked my mom about my cousin Adam, worried that he might be the next one split.
When I was quite young I believed that if you left glass in the sun long enough, that it would turn into diamonds and crystals (depending on the colour of the glass obviously). I had quite a collection of glass sitting on my bedroom windowsill until one day, my mum threw them all out and told me the horrible truth. I believed for years after that, that they had finally 'turned' and she had taken them for herself and every time she 'bought' new diamond earrings or a sapphire necklace I'd look at them suspiciously.
After I found out that sugar was made of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, I thought that I could make sugar by blowing into water. Why? Because the carbon from the CO2 you exhale would combine with the H and O in H2O and result in sugar. Not just any carbohydrate- but sucrose table sugar, the brown one.
I used to believe that American water was chemically different to our water; because while water in Britain boils at 100 degrees and freezes at 0 degrees, in America it boils at 212 degrees and freezes at 32 degrees.
My 8 and 5 year old were having a bath one evening and it smelt strongly of vinegar. Confused I asked them what they had put in it. Turns out they had found a recipe for invisible ink in a science experiment book and believed that if they mixed the ingredients into their bath they too would turn invisible!
when i was little i went to a museum and saw a whole thing about rocks and gold and stuff, and someone said that over time the rocks get bigger underground. when i went home i took all of my mom's gold jewelry and buried it in a flower pot to make more gold.