Scientist Claire Patterson spent over 20 years trying to convince the public that lead was poison.
The inventor of leaded gasoline meanwhile once went to New Jersey to argue that leaded gasoline was perfectly safe, by pouring tetraethyllead onto his hands, and then putting a bottle of it under his nose and inhaling it for 60 seconds saying he could do it every day without any problems. He then had to leave work after being diagnosed with lead poisoning.
He also went on to invent Freon, a CFC that was later banned after being shown to be responsible for ozone depletion.
Then he got polio, so he invented another thing, a pulley system that let him pull himself out of bed. He would then die after becoming entangled in this and strangling himself.
A professor ran a long running study on a pitch drop missed every single drop. One in 1977 because he went home tired, another in 1988 because he went to get a cup of tea, and in 2000 due to a malfunctioned webcam. When the next drop finally fell in 2014, he had died 8 month earlier.
Japanese scientists hypothesized that zebras’ stripes deter insects. So they painted black and white stripes on cows and striped cows had about 50% fewer biting flies land on them than unpainted cows.
In 1996 a physicist submitted a paper full of word salad and gibberish to a postmodernist journal and it actually passed peer review and was published. This is known as the Sokal Affair.
“feminist and poststructuralist critiques have demystified the substantive content of mainstream Western scientific practice, revealing the ideology of domination concealed behind the façade of “objectivity”. It has thus become increasingly apparent that physical “reality”, no less than social “reality”, is at bottom a social and linguistic construct; that scientific “knowledge”, far from being objective, reflects and encodes the dominant ideologies and power relations of the culture that produced it; that the truth claims of science are inherently theory-laden and self-referential; and consequently, that the discourse of the scientific community, for all its undeniable value, cannot assert a privileged epistemological status with respect to counter-hegemonic narratives emanating from dissident or marginalized communities.“
Saccharin was accidentally discovered by a Russian chemist who forgot to wash his hands after working in the lab and noticed his food tasted quite sweet, and after ruling out the possibility of the food being made that way, he concluded that it was due to the chemicals coating his hands.
There have been actual scientific studies comparing apples and oranges in order to prove that you can in fact compare apples and oranges. One such study conducted by a NASA researcher named Scott Sandford used infrared spectroscopy to analyze and compare the fruits.
According to a University of Pennsylvania study, you are more likely to remember the news if it is delivered in concert with jokes. The rise of comedy-news programs, like Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert or John Oliver, may actually help inform the public. A new neuroimaging study using fMRI suggests that humor might make news and politics more socially relevant, and therefore motivate people to remember it and share it.
Researchers have developed a self-cleaning surface which uses nano-scale surface engineering and chemistry. It can repel/prevent the transfer of antibiotic-resistant superbugs and other bacteria. The material can be shrink-wrapped onto door handles, railings, and other surfaces.
In an experiment that trained rats to drive tiny cars by giving treats as a reward, rats ended up loving driving so much they’d do it without a reward.
After losing her position in her university’s anatomy department in 1938, Rita Levi-Montalcini set up a laboratory in her bedroom and studied the growth of nerve fibers in chicken embryos. This work led to her discovery of nerve growth factor, for which she was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1986.