Newton’s eureka moment, truth or myth?

Image credit — Nikolai Chernichenko

Many scientists have achieved the honor of having their name attached to a scientific theory. Some have units of measurement named after them.

But only a few scientists have transcended even this level of greatness.

They have stories told about them.

Pythagoras is said to have understood musical scales as he walked past the sounds of blacksmiths striking hammers in unison.

Archimedes ran out on the streets naked, screaming “Eureka!” after he discovered the Archimedes principle in a bathtub.

The story of Galileo sitting in a church pondering on the nature of pendulum swings…

Image credit —Niketh Vellanki

About 385 million years ago, our ancestors made their way from the oceans onto land. A landmark event in the evolutionary history of life on Earth.

There are various hypotheses as to why this happened, but there isn’t a definitive answer. Some researchers believe, that an increase in visual capability may have been the driving factor. By looking at the fossil record, they note that the size of eyes tripled before the transition. …

Image credit — NCI

On the 8th of May 1980, the World Health Organization declared smallpox to be eradicated. It is the only infectious human disease in history to have this status.

The WHO started their Intensified Eradication Program in 1967 following an earlier campaign that failed due to lack of funds, personnel, and commitment from the affected countries.

At the time there were still millions of cases occurring annually. Smallpox had been eradicated from North America and Europe. Asia, South America, and Africa, however, were still facing regular outbreaks.

The program turned out to be successful. By using techniques such as mass vaccinations…

Image credit — NASA

Far beyond the orbit of Neptune, five billion kilometers away, a small world made of ice and rock moves along its 248 year long orbit around the Sun.

It has icy mountains, nitrogen glaciers, and peaks which are thought to be cryovolcanos. Underneath its varied surface, the possibility of a liquid ocean.

Officially discovered on February 18th, 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh. He had been looking for a planet for almost a year. And then it happened. The movement of a point of light on a photographic plate, measured in millimeters, had revealed the existence of a whole new world.


On the 7th day of January in the present year, 1610, at the first hour of the night, when I was viewing the constellations of the heavens through a spyglass, the planet Jupiter presented itself to my view ..

Galileo would record the above statement in his groundbreaking text Siderius Nuncius. It was the first scientific publication based on telescopic observations. It included descriptions of the moon’s surface with its craters and mountains. It also talked about the vast number of stars invisible to the naked eye.

But it was at the end of the text in which he reported…

Is the cat both alive and dead at the same time until we observe it?

Thought experiments have been an essential tool for many of history’s greatest minds. It is when we tackle a situation with our imagination alone.

Science, philosophy, the self and every other field of study has its own share of the most fascinating thought experiments.

It makes us think in ways that go against our intuition. Helps us analyze concepts that we usually take for granted. It wouldn’t be inaccurate to say that every great idea may have begun in someone’s mind, as a thought.

Every now and then I start to look around at everything and wonder, where did it all come from?

The current accepted estimate for the age of the universe is 13.8 billion years. Our galaxy, the Milky way, 13.5 billion years. The sun, 4.6 billion years. Planet earth, 4.5 billion years. Cosmic time scales are hard to make sense of.

The distances don’t make it any easier. The moon is the closest to earth. 384,400 kilometres away. In other words, 1.282 light seconds away. The moon we see, is always around 1 second in the past. That is only a…

Sharan Sukumar

I like science, history, and writing.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store