25 Amazing Science Facts That Are Weird, Wild, and True
These cool science facts are definitely the most interesting things you’ll read today!
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Science facts: The wacky, the wild, and the weird
Even if you weren’t someone who got excited about science class in school, now—as an adult—it’s hard not to be amazed by science facts. Seriously, just stop for a minute and think about what both the natural world and technology are capable of. It’s truly impressive, and chances are you only know a small fraction of the interesting facts and completely weird facts that scientists have uncovered so far.
After all, scientists are learning new things all the time. Something we don’t know today could be discovered tomorrow, so we can always expand our knowledge—and our reserve of random trivia to impress our friends. Just beware of the science “facts” that are actually false, unlike the 25 on this list. And remember, a little humor is just as important as a little knowledge, which is why you’ll also want to check out these hilarious science jokes, chemistry jokes, and biology jokes that are so funny, they cell themselves. (Sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves.)
The human stomach can dissolve razor blades
If you ever swallow a razor blade, don’t panic. The human body is more capable than you think. Acids are ranked on a scale from 0 to 14—the lower the pH level, the stronger the acid. Human stomach acid is typically 1.0 to 2.0, meaning that it has an incredibly strong pH. In a study published in the journal Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, scientists found that the “thickened back of a single-edged blade” dissolved after two hours of immersion in stomach acid. That’s just one of many fun facts about the human body you never learned in school.
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A laser can get trapped in water
A cool thing called “total internal reflection” happens when you point a laser beam at a jet of flowing water. To demonstrate this phenomenon, PBS Learning Media released a video in which a laser is positioned on one side of a clear tank of water. When the light travels through the water, it is slowed by the heavier particles in the water, effectively “trapping” the laser beam in the water. Even as the water flow is gradually decreased, the laser beam remains contained inside the jet, until it eventually disappears when the water is turned off completely. Speaking of lasers, did you know that your iPhone can be hacked with a laser pointer? You do now!
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Earth’s oxygen is produced by the ocean
Have you ever stopped to think where oxygen comes from? Your first thought may be a rainforest, but here’s a cool science fact for you: We can thank plant-based marine organisms for all that fresh air, according to the National Oceanic Service. Plankton, seaweed, and other photosynthesizers produce more than half of the world’s oxygen. While we may know the answer to this question, scientists still can’t explain these other ocean mysteries.
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Animals use Earth’s magnetic field for orientation
Lost land animals may not be able to find their way home, but sea animals might. According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), “there is evidence that some animals, like sea turtles and salmon, have the ability to sense the Earth’s magnetic field and can use this sense for navigation.” Though that may sound like science fiction, it’s actually science fact—unlike these animal “facts” that are actually false.
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A cloud can weigh around a million pounds
Your childhood dreams of floating on a weightless cloud may not withstand this science fact: The average cumulus cloud can weigh up to a million pounds, according to the USGS. That’s about as heavy as the world’s largest jet when it’s completely full of cargo and passengers. Learn more about clouds and why they’re so heavy by familiarizing yourself with these facts about rain.
Soil is full of life
In just one teaspoon of soil, there are more microorganisms than people on the planet. “Millions of species and billions of organisms—bacteria, algae, microscopic insects, earthworms, beetles, ants, mites, fungi, and more—represent the greatest concentration of biomass anywhere on the planet,” according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. To enrich the soil even more in your own backyard, here’s how to make compost at home.
Rats laugh when they’re tickled
These creatures are more dynamic than we think. Rats have the ability to “laugh” when tickled. A video from National Geographic demonstrates that rats respond positively to tickling, and they even chase after the researcher’s hand in a playful manner. We wonder what would happen if they saw these funny animal memes.
Bananas are radioactive
Here’s a random fact about one of your favorite foods: Bananas contain potassium, and since potassium decays, that makes the yellow fruit slightly radioactive. But don’t worry—you’d need to eat ten million bananas in one sitting to die of banana-induced radiation poisoning, according to Joe Schwarcz, PhD, of McGill University.
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Hot water freezes faster than cold water
This may seem counterintuitive, but it’s called the Mpemba effect. Scientists now believe this is because the velocities of water particles have a specific disposition while they’re hot that allows them to freeze more readily. If proven correct, this finding could also be applied to everyday things, like cooling down electronic devices, according to research out of Universidad Carlos III de Madrid.
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There are more trees on Earth than stars in our galaxy
Here’s a cool space fact (and an Earth fact) we bet you didn’t know: NASA experts believe there could be anywhere from 100 billion to 400 billion stars in the Milky Way. However, a 2015 paper published in the journal Nature estimated that the number of trees around the world is much higher: 3.04 trillion.
Humans have genes from other species
We like to think of humans as being superior to other living creatures, but the reality is, our genome consists of as many as 145 genes that have jumped from bacteria, fungi, other single-celled organisms, and viruses, according to a study published in the journal Genome Biology.
But don’t worry—humans have a lot of DNA
Scientists believe that there are more than three billion base pairs of DNA in human genes and more than 25,000 genes in the human genome, according to an article in Nature. An entire copy of that genome exists in each of the 30 to 40 trillion cells in the human body. It’s a good thing there are so many base pairs of human DNA, since a number of medical mysteries have been solved by DNA testing.
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It can rain diamonds on other planets
The atmospheres in Neptune, Uranus, and Saturn have such extreme pressure that they can crystallize carbon atoms and turn them into diamonds, American Scientist reports. How do we know this science fact? Researchers were able to create the correct conditions in a lab to prove this occurs on Neptune and Uranus. Separately, other researchers speculate that it may rain as much as 2.2 million pounds of diamonds on parts of Saturn every year.
There were roughly 2.5 billion T. rexes on Earth, but not all at the same time
Humans have been marveling at the size of T. rexes ever since first putting a full skeleton together. Now, thanks to research published in April 2021, scientists have a better idea of exactly how many of them once called Earth their (temporary) home. According to the team at the University of California, Berkeley, approximately 2.5 billion of these dinosaurs existed across more than 127,000 generations. They reached this estimate by taking into account the dinosaur’s body size, sexual maturity, and energy needs. By the way, this is what T. rexes actually sounded like. (Spoiler alert: It’s not like in the movies!)
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Water can exist in three states at once
This is called the triple boil—or triple point—and it is a specific temperature and pressure where materials exist as a gas, a liquid, and a solid simultaneously. The triple point, which is also the only situation where all three states of matter can coexist, is different for every material, according to the University of California, Santa Cruz. Water reaches its triple point at just above freezing (0.1 degree Celsius) and at a pressure of 0.006 atm.
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Helium can work against gravity
When helium is cooled to extreme temperatures, just a few degrees away from absolute zero (-460 degrees Fahrenheit or -273 degrees Celsius), it turns into a superfluid, meaning it can flow without friction, Scientific American reports. It can climb up and over the sides of a glass, and it can leak through molecule-thin cracks in a container. And here’s another interesting fact about this element: While helium is the second most abundant element in the universe, it may actually be harmful to the human body—one of the many problems with birthday balloons no one talks about.
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Solar flares are incredibly powerful
The energy solar flares release is equivalent to millions of 100-megaton atomic bombs exploding at once, according to NASA. It’s a good thing the Earth’s atmosphere protects us from their radiation.
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It’s impossible to burp in space
When you burp on Earth, gravity keeps down the solids and liquids from the food you just ate, so only the gas escapes from your mouth. In the absence of gravity, the gas cannot separate from the liquids and solids, so burping essentially turns into puking.
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Plastic can end up as vanilla flavoring
Researchers have figured out how to transform plastic bottles into vanilla flavoring with genetically engineered bacteria, according to a 2021 study published in the journal Green Chemistry. The authors of the study explain that the demand for vanillin is “growing rapidly,” given that it’s found in a wide variety of food, cosmetic, pharmaceutical, cleaning, and herbicide products. But don’t expect to be eating plastic-bottle-flavored ice cream anytime soon: This research only demonstrated that this conversion is possible—not whether it is safe for human consumption.
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About half of your body is bacteria
Experts estimate that the human body consists of 39 trillion bacteria and 30 trillion human cells—a roughly 1:1.3 ratio. In the past, researchers thought we were much more bacteria than human, with a ratio of 10:1.
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Men are more likely to be colorblind than women
The genes responsible for the most common type of colorblindness are found on the X chromosome, the National Eye Institute explains. Even if women have the genes on one of their two X chromosomes, a properly functioning gene on the other one makes up for that loss. If men inherit the gene on their only X chromosome, they’ll become colorblind.
We have no idea what most of the universe looks like
About 96 percent of the universe is made up of dark matter and dark energy, which are undetectable to humans, Space.com reports. Scientists believe this is because the particles that make up these substances don’t interact with regular matter or light.
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Bats don’t get sick from most viruses
And yup, that includes coronaviruses. Bats can, of course, contract and spread viruses, but according to research funded by the European Commission, they also have plenty of genes responsible for anti-viral activity, keeping them out of harm’s way. One exception to this is rabies, although according to Thomas Kepler, PhD, a professor of microbiology at Boston University, while bats occasionally get sick from rabies, it rarely kills them.
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Beer is twice as fizzy as champagne
While one flute of champagne produces about one million bubbles, a half-pint of beer creates around two million bubbles, according to a 2021 study published in the journal ACS Omega. So why does this matter? More bubbles result in a more intense flavor. Of course, that’s not to say that beer and champagne are in any way comparable to each other in taste—they just happened to be the beverages the researchers selected to compare to their results for context.
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Humans are capable of producing venom
Believe it or not, while humans do not currently produce venom, technically, we could. In fact, all reptiles and mammals have that capability, according to an article published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Basically, we have all the tools we need, and it’s up to evolution to get us there. We told you—these science facts are pretty amazing! Next, check out more “did you know” facts that are almost hard to believe.
Additional reporting by Claire Nowak.