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When I was little I used to think that the ozone layer was clear plastic and that it would open and close at certain times so that the space shuttle had to time it correctly in order to make it through the hole into space. Years later in science class I realized that the atmosphere was held in by gravity!
When I was a kid, I thought the speed of light was the time it took from when you flipped the light switch until the light came on.
I remember seeing the sun set and it didn't look all that far away, really. I also imagined it as being about the size of my wading pool. I was hoping for the day the sun would come down right in our yard. I wanted to go touch it.
I one time asked my dad what comets are and he said they are made of dirt and ice. Based on this I thought if I got some dirt and ice I could throw it into space and make my own comet!
I used to believe that sunlight coming from windows spontaneously generated dust since that's the only place I ever saw it in the air.
I used to believe that because jet airplanes went so fast, that if you held a large sheet of paper in front of them, they would go right through the paper without making a hole or tearing the paper.
I used to believe that splitting an atom was done by finding a very thin needle and sticking the needle into the atom.
When i was younger i thought germs and bacteria were the same size as me
I thought if something was radioactive it meant if you turn on a radio near it it would blow up
I thought if you are exposed to radiation you would instantly mutate and grow extra arms or something like in the comic books. I also thought it could turn you into part animal-part human creature
I used to believe that if everyone would walk in the same direction at the same time we could make the earth's spin reverse. I never could get everyone to do this, so I still believe it (at least a little) and I have a MS in geology.
I used to believe that the world spun so fast that cars didn't move. Instead it was the rotation of the Earth that was causing roads to move underneath the tires of the cars.
When I was younger I was absolutely convinced that there was a real value for "x" and that everyone was hiding it from me. I got a scholarship to highschool.
When I was about 8, I came up with the idea that no two events could happen simultaneously. I saw time broken up into incredibly short snippets, so that what appeared to be events happening at the same time were actually just one after another, like frames in a film. I would sit watching my family watch TV for a half hour at a time, trying to prove my theory was true. (Misleading choice, because people sitting in front of the TV often look like they aren't doing anything at all). Then it occurred to me that people all around the world were doing things, too, and I'd never be able to watch them all at once.
I used to believe that whenever you switched on a light a little man ran (extremely fast) through the wire and turned the lightbulb on. I stopped believing this when I saw how small the wire that the "little man" ran through really was!
The industrial part of my childhood town had a particular large stormwater runoff drain, at least large enough for one car to drive through, and for many years (I think i was 10 when i started questioning the reality of this gem) i honestly believed that if you stood in the drain you would be cloned. Yes cloned. This was 20 years ago so i guess i must have got the idea from Buck Rogers or some early sci fi crap
I thought that deep space was 100% empty of matter, except for the random star, nebula, black hole, or planetary system. Since I always heard that space was a vacuum, I also believed that except for the dust and dirt inside a vacuum bag, I believed that the rest of the "space" in a vacuum bag was totally empty, just like space. I learned otherwise about the vacuum bag pretty early on, but I finally learned that outer space is not completely empty some time in 8th grade Earth Science.
I had an idea at school to dig a tunnel through the centre of the earth and out to the other side. I would then drop things down it and since the object would be moving faster as it passed through the core, gravity should have less effect and it should shoot out of the tube and into space then other side. It could have been used to dispose of nuclear waste or defend Earth from asteroids but it never materialised.
There were train tracks just back of my grandmothers house. I was 5 or 6 and used to try to run too close. My grandmother told me that there was a vaccummm force and if I was too close when it whooshed by the force would suck me under and i would of course die. Hence I stayed away from all train tracks. In highschool science we learned of many different forces but I still beleievd this maybe was cintrifgal or the doppler effect with air ...Ok I didnt listen much in science, until the day i was visiting a friend in my twenties and ran like hell from the tracks becasue a train was coming. When I told them why they laughed themselves silly . I can't believe I still kept this idea for so long.
when i first found out the world was round i thought it would fall and smash on the floor