I recently came into possession of an original copy of the The Book of Lists

It is a compendium of different facts and figures written in 1977.

  I thought I’d share one article from the book with you that I thought was very interesting. 

We all think that people who make major contributions to science are perfect. 

This article proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that this just isn’t the case. 

So, here is Major Mistakes By 12 Great Men of Science:


1. Aristotle (384-322 BC)

Believed that:

  • flying objects were moved by the atmosphere “carrying” them
  • the heart was the center of feeling and intelligence
  • heavy objects fell faster than lighter objects
  • living creatures could be spontaneously created without parents or ancestors

2. Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)

Stated that a falling object’s speed increased the further it fell when, in fact, it increased the longer it fell.

3. Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)

For 30 years, believed that heavier objects fell faster than lighter objects until he finally got it right in his famous experiment.

4. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

His understanding of light and color is completely false based on present knowledge. 

He also believed in the concept of neptunism which states that the continents were placed into the oceans which covered the entire earth. 

Most scientists subscribe to vulcanism.

5. Dr. Dionysius Lardner (1793-1859)

Declared that a steamship would never be able to cross the Atlantic because it would never be able to carry enough coal. This was successfully disproved in 1838.

He also believed that any railway train reaching high speeds such as 120 MPH would be unridable because the passengers would all die of asphyxiation.

6. William Thomson (1842-1907)

Thomson did not believe that:

  • the earth could have been inhabited more that 20 million years ago.  The oldest dinosaur is believed to have lives between 235 and 240 years ago.
  • radiation behaved the way it actually did.
  • light behaved as very rapid electromagnetic vibrations

7. Simon Newcomb (1835-1909)

Believed that heavier than air flight was impossible, even after the short flights by the Wright brothers!

8. Ernst Mach (1838-1916)

Believed that the concepts of matter being made up of atomic structures and the theory of relativity to be completely false and “dogmatic”.

9. Percival Lowell (1855-1916)

Mapped over 500 Martian canals which are, actually, just an optical illusion!

10. William Pickering (1858-1938)

Decided that a number of dark spots in the Eratosthenes crater on the moon were either swarms of insects or herds of small animals!

11. Nikola Tesla (1856-1943)

Believed that humans would never be able to harness nuclear power.

12. Ernest Rutherford (1871-1937)

Like, Testa, thought that nuclear power was out of our reach.  He also did not buy into the theory of relativity.


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Date: 6 Jun 2009 | Author: mesmerX | Category: News | Views: 3732

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Comments: 1

You might want to change the comment in Thomson's from "between 235 and 240 years ago" to be "...million years ago" wink

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