Ideas About Science

The beguiling ideas about science quoted here were gleaned from essays, exams, and classroom discussions. Most were from 5th and 6th graders. They illustrate Mark Twain’s contention that the ‘most interesting information comes from children, for they tell all they know and then stop. Q: What is one horsepower? A: One horsepower is the amount of energy it takes to drag a horse 500 feet in one second. You can listen to thunder after lightning and tell how close you came to getting hit. If you don’t hear it, you got hit, so never mind. Talc is found on rocks and on babies. The law of gravity says no fair jumping up without coming back down. When they broke open molecules, they found they were only stuffed with atoms. But when they broke open atoms, they found them stuffed with explosions. When people run around and around in circles we say they are crazy. When planets do it we say they are orbiting. Rainbows are just to look at, not to really understand. While the earth seems to be knowingly keeping its distance from the sun, it is really only centrificating. Someday we may discover how to make magnets that can point in any direction. South America has cold summers and hot winters, but somehow they still manage. Most books now say our sun is a star. But it still knows how to change back into a sun in the daytime. Water freezes at 32 degrees and boils at 212 degrees. There are 180 degrees between freezing and boiling because there are 180 degrees between north and south. A vibration is a motion that cannot make up its mind which way it wants to go. There are 26 vitamins in all, but some of the letters are yet to be discovered. Finding them all means living forever.

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