THE GIST - Science has a sense of humor.
- Every scientific breakthrough in this article is completely true.
- Only one of the above statements is true.
Scientists and science journals are at an advantage when it comes to fooling the rest of the world on April 1. For one thing, the average reader is optimistic, and therefore liable to believe anything amazing when it comes to scientific discoveries. Secondly, no one expects a stereotypically dry, robotic scientist to pull a prank.
Here are our favorite fake scientific breakthroughs - tall tales that were really told - from April Fools' Days of the past. [View as an album]
BLOG: Surfs Up in the Panama Canal[/b #1 Auspicious Alignments On the first morning in April 1976, BBC Radio 2 astronomer Patrick Moore announced the approach of a once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event. At 9:47 a.m., Moore said, the planet Pluto would pass directly behind Jupiter, and at that moment their gravitational alignment would counteract and thus lessen the pull of Earth's gravity. Moore told his listeners that if they jumped in the air at the exact moment of this planetary alignment, they would experience a strange floating sensation. At 9:48, callers flooded the lines of BBC 2 with stories of their brief buoyant experiences. Last year's flurry of worry about the March 19, 2011 "Supermoon," which people feared would set off earthquakes and other cataclysmic events, showed the public hasn't come very far in its understanding of astronomical influences since the 1976 prank.