Breakthrough by the will of the majority of cases sluchayaV science requires careful planning, complex development and billions of dollars - hardly could decipher the human genome, or discover the Higgs boson, sitting on the couch. But sometimes the world seems to help people in white lab coats to understand how the universe. The experiments, which we want to tell you, get completely random.
1. The atomic bomb and ozhirenie
As many Internet users, all of the problems with being overweight can be solved with a single strange trick. Only it is necessary to be careful, otherwise you will hate doctors.
An international team of scientists trying to figure out how people quickly gain or lose fat cells. When our weight changes, the number of fat cells remains the same - they just become empty or, on the contrary, filled with a certain amount of fat. Scientists have wondered whether there are new cells that replace the dead or the same cells remain in the body forever.
To understand this, the scientists fed the animals radioactive food - their DNA would become radioactive, and the researchers were able to monitor how quickly they disappear from the body.
For ethical reasons, but also because of the fear of a zombie apocalypse, the scientists could not get people to eat radioactive food. Fortunately for scientists, for all the work they have done by the time the United States and the Soviet Union - almost all the food during the testing of nuclear bombs in the 1950s has been infected so that the radioactive markers in humans of that time met in abundance.
Watching the amount of radioactive carbon-14 in the body of people born before and after the test, the scientists were able to learn that the number of fat cells increases until adolescence. Well, the Cold War has brought at least some benefit.
2. Land lottery in Gruzii
If you accidentally got great wealth, how much better would your children and grandchildren? Unfortunately, such an experiment is not so simple. Besides the large funding need close monitoring of the subjects for a couple of generations.
The only way to answer this question - to find a random example. Wealth was unexpectedly fall on people in the past. Fortunately for economists, it happened in Georgia in 1832, the year. When the government of Georgia has taken away a huge land holdings at the natives of the country, the best way to dispose of them but to give them a random white people, not found.
The winners were selected at random - of justice in this case, it is better to forget. For many families, this event would change his life because the land was expensive.
Economists have studied the biographies of all the people involved in this scheme, and have found that a random enormous wealth did not affect the level of education, literacy, employment and welfare of children newly made landowners - they went to the same school as the children of those who are in the lottery does not He won.
Of course, Georgia in XIX-th century and today - it's two different countries, and the same may happen in the XXI-st century. However, the "experiment" shows that wealth does not guarantee the improvement of living descendants.
3. Order of zaslugi
If you have a lot of students of similar ability, and half of the "lucky ones", selected at random, will receive a better assessment of "losers", then will they really learn better? The main stumbling block for such an experiment will be growing dissatisfaction with their relatives. So where to find the necessary information? Do not be surprised - you just need to assume that sometimes "people is a bad day».
Exams - tricky. Skills, of course, are important, but it happens that a person does not sleep all night and then during the day it will be less productive than usual. If the examiners say that all those who correctly answer 80% of questions, will get five, will be many who will score only 79%. This gifted students, but for them the day was not too successful. And yet many people gain 81% - of these just might be more than an additional coffee, although usually they are coping with exams worse.
In a study published in 1960, we took advantage of this assumption. The researchers followed the students who received diplomas for the exam, and compared them with those who gained about 80% plus or minus 1%. Those who scored more wrote in the school newspaper, but the researchers found that their progress has been too close to the threshold, and may be random.
Anyway, fame and an honorary diploma does not affect the further progress in their studies: one was a good student, so continue to learn and without additional compensation, and those who are poorly studied, fleeting fame has not helped.
If you - a university researcher who wants to study the behavior of people in terms of aversion to risk money, then you have to face some limitations. You can not learn about the actual assets of people, and you are unlikely to have enough money to give people a significant reward and make them take the risk. The risk of living in the real world is exposed to some chaos, and each person will take risks with different probabilities. Where to get information?
The quiz game: people will risk the same as playing in real life, and the payoff can greatly change his life. One of the best shows for such observations - "Deal." Terms of the game seemed to be specially designed to simulate economic experiment.
In particular, researchers have, based on the show concluded that men are more often at risk. Interestingly, the initial capital of man does not seem to have any effect on his willingness to take risks or to be content already received a prize and is guaranteed to get money. Also, people are more likely to take risks if done before the coup. Another example of this phenomenon can serve as gambling.
5. The study of twins Minnesoty
What has a greater influence on our personality, upbringing or nature - one of the age-old and very interesting questions. One way to find out - to create a clone army, and put all in different conditions. Unfortunately, it is not so easy, so scientists had to settle for identical twins, who in infancy were in different families.
A study of twins from Minnesota - an example of such an experiment. Scientists began studying the similarities and differences in each other razluchёnnyh twins back in the 1970s. Rosshey apart the twins had the same personality, interests and views - in fact, so similar as if grown together.
Other studies have shown that homosexuality seems to be genetically laid in men (more than heterosexuality in women). At least two male twins are more likely to be homosexual than two female twins - lesbians. A Swedish study of twins with respect to tobacco use has revealed that men are more genetically predisposed to smoking than women.
6. Polynesian ostrova
What happens if you take a community of people to share it and settled in a few different places with different resources? Civilization for centuries have been separated from each other with water, but in a natural experiment to shed light on this question, unwittingly participated Eastern Lapita people who built their culture on the Polynesian islands thousands of years ago.
When the scientists examined how landscapes influence people, they found that the society living on dry islands tend to be more violent and militaristic. On the islands of Hawaii or Luscher, for example, dominated by a rigid social structure and the monarchy allowed to keep the population in check.
7. Foreign TV and diktatura
Government tyranny try to control the information coming from the outside. That is why China blocks foreign websites, and North Korea has only local state television. Any information coming from the external world, could give citizens to understand what terrible conditions they live and how much better things could be.
German Democratic Republic, or East Germany - one of the countries where the word "democracy" meant something like "I'm not a racist, but ..." And there happened to put a natural experiment on the effect of the external media.
Many TV programs broadcast in East Germany from West Germany, so that those who lived under the communist ideology, could watch foreign programs. However, the broadcasting tower was positioned so that to some areas of East German TV from the West simply can not reach, so the people there looked only local news. Common sense suggests that those who are watching foreign programs were more likely to riot.
But no, the people who lived under the strict communist regime and could watch foreign television programs, were much happier than those who had no such opportunity. The researchers suggest that these programs have had fun, and so they had less reason to be disappointed in his own life.
8. Viruses transmitted sexually putёm
If you want to find out how the disease can be transmitted, the experiment will not be able to put on ethical grounds. So it is not surprising that the first documented way to become a mosquito bite - though in the end it turned out that in fact sexually transmitted infection.
American biologist Brian Foy suffered from the disease, which is taken as dengue disease - he was on the field mission in Senegal, where he was repeatedly bitten by mosquito vectors. By itself, the disease Foy was relatively uninteresting. But his wife, Joy never left Colorado, where the mosquito vector of dengue virus has never been, so when she later discovered at the same symptoms, I realized that there must be some other way to transfer.
Further research along with a chance meeting with an expert on rare tropical diseases allowed Foy to realize that he had contracted a very rare disease called Zeke, is often mistaken for dengue. Several tests confirmed the new diagnosis. Since infected zikoy his wife there was no possibility of a third party, it had to admit that the virus is transmitted sexually. Foy later told that his wife was "very unhappy with what happened».
There are many scientific fields, where it is important to ensure dryness, example is the manufacture of drugs and electronics. But the most effective absorbent was discovered quite by accident, with many thought that such material is not possible.
Researchers from the University of Uppsala puzzled over how to prove them wrong the doubters. The answer is simple - forget about the experiments at the weekend and on Monday to see what happened during that time in the laboratory.
The researchers found the gel formed during their absence. He not only absorbs water - one gram of the substance in addition you can smear on the area of 800 m² due to its microscopic pores. Furthermore, for the production of the new substance need less power than other materials. After a year of experiments Uppsala it became used for commercial purposes, including the production.
10. Rubber utyata
To track ocean currents is difficult. The ocean is very large, and to throw objects to see what happens, not too well. But international cargo vessels for freight transportation annually lose up to 10 thousand containers.
In 1992 the Pacific Ocean fell container with rubber bath toys - there were 29,000 rubber red beavers, blue turtles, green frogs and yellow ducklings. Some of them ended up in very unexpected places.
Some toys washed ashore in Alaska and Hawaii, some drifted to the north across the Arctic and were in Scotland, and some swam in the other direction and ended up in Australia. Thus, rubber ducklings ocean scientists told of a time require ocean currents to reach a particular place - previously it could only estimate. However, thousands of toys still floating somewhere in the ocean, so look carefully at his feet, when you get on the beach.