Humans are visual learners. We need pictures that show how blood circulates throughout the body’s limbs; diagrams and animations that depict the orbital and axial dance Earth and its celestial siblings undergo as they move through space. A picture can tell a thousand words, but humans have a knack for sticking with the stories they prefer—not necessarily the ones that are most truthful. Too many people still believe dinosaurs are giant reptiles rather than giant chickens; that our nutrition should be guided by an arbitrary food pyramid; that the brain is divided in left and right functions; and so forth. We underestimate just how strongly much of the public continues to look to inaccurate illustrations and antiquated models to explain how the world really works.
Neel Patel shares all the hidden truths your science teacher never knew.
Neel Patel is a freelance science and tech journalist based in New York City, originally a native of Northern Virginia and an alum of Virginia Tech. His work has appeared in Popular Science, New York Magazine, The Verge, Daily Beast, Slate, Thrillist, Inverse, WIRED, among others.
He worked at the media startup Inverse, first as a regular contributor, then later as a staff writer and associate editor. Topics included the future of interstellar travel, NASA’s work in astrobiology, SETI research, the rise of commercial spaceflight companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin, and other ongoing narratives.