Felix’s Top Five Awesome Science Facts of The Day

I bet some of you haven’t even thought of your Top Five Awesome Science Facts of The Day, but help is at hand, because I’ve done the leg work for you, and your Awesome Science Facts are being brought straight to your screen. So, without further delay:

1. The centre of our galaxy is raspberry flavoured.

Well… Technically. Upon observing the gas and dust clouds amidst the Milky Way’s galactic central point, scientists discovered trace particles of ethyl formate, a chemical compound best know for being partially responsible for the flavour of raspberries. As a side note, ethyl formate also smells like rum; so the centre of our galaxy tastes like raspberries and smells like rum.

2. If you were able to fold a piece of paper in half fifty times, it would be tall enough to reach the sun.

Obviously this is impossible, but the laws of exponential growth, the sequence of a number doubling and doubling, show us that when you double the thickness of a piece of paper (by say folding it in half) and then folding the doubled piece in half again, and then continuing the algorithm another forty eight times, the resulting thickness of the repeatedly doubled paper would be approximately ninety-five million miles, or roughly the distance from The Earth to The Sun.

3. The number ‘googolplex’ is so large, that there isn’t enough space in the known universe to write it out.

A googolplex, ten to the power of ten to the power of one hundred, is a number used in pure mathematics. It is so large a number that if you were to convert all existing matter into ink, your pen would run out before you could successfully write it in full. If every molecule in the known universe was converted to a digit, you still wouldn’t have enough digits to represent a googolplex. Why does it exist you ask? As far as I’m concerned, it’s just so that I can tell you cool stuff like this.

4. Cats have a non-fatal terminal velocity.

This is awesome. So basically, a cat’s top speed, achievable by comparing the force of gravity to the wind resistance it can create, gives it a top speed of around 60mph. Now upon reaching this speed, the cat is able to spread itself like a parachute and brace for a landing. All in all, this means that if the cat has enough time (e.g. enough height in the fall) to reach its top speed, and orientate its body, it can theoretically survive any fall onto a flat surface. Then again, please note how I put the word ‘theoretically‘ in bold, before you start chucking cats off skyscrapers.

5. Numerous plant and animal growth and mating sequences all correspond to the same mathematical equation.

The Fibonacci Number, Fn = Fn -1 + Fn -2, is a sequence of numbers worked out by adding the previous two numbers to make the third number (e.g. 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21…). This same series has been discovered to crop up in some very implausible places, for instance the growth pattern of leaves on branches and branches on trees, the patterns on a pinecone, the spiral on a sea shell (which is the exact same spiral on the curve of ocean waves and galaxies), the ancestry of bees, the mating cycles of rabbits, and so on. Incredibly, this simple sequence seems to be a defining element of nature itself. As a side note, I was recently bored enough to work out the Fibonacci Number, using only pen and paper, up to seven quintillion, four hundred and sixty quadrillion, five hundred and sixty-five trillion, eight hundred and thirty-one billion, eight hundred and seven million, seven hundred and twenty-one thousand, seven hundred and nine. Because maths is fun… Apparently.

So, yeah. These have been Felix’s Top Five Awesome Science Facts of The Day. I hope you enjoyed them, but more importantly, I hope you’ll remember them long enough to some day slip into casual conversation to seem either incredibly intelligent, or incredibly unnerving. If you can think of any more, please feel free to drop them in the comments box below. Now, now… I insist.