First hint of ‘life after death’ in biggest ever scientific study

A bright light behind some trees
Some cardiac arrest patients recalled seeing a bright light; a golden flash or the Sun shining 

Death is a depressingly inevitable consequence of life, but now scientists believe they may have found some light at the end of the tunnel.

The largest ever medical study into near-death and out-of-body experiences has discovered that some awareness may continue even after the brain has shut down completely.

It is a controversial subject which has, until recently, been treated with widespread scepticism.

 But scientists at the University of Southampton have spent four years examining more than 2,000 people who suffered cardiac arrests at 15 hospitals in the UK, US and Austria.

And they found that nearly 40 per cent of people who survived described some kind of ‘awareness’ during the time when they were clinically dead before their hearts were restarted.

One man even recalled leaving his body entirely and watching his resuscitation from the corner of the room.

Despite being unconscious and ‘dead’ for three minutes, the 57-year-old social worker from Southampton, recounted the actions of the nursing staff in detail and described the sound of the machines.

“We know the brain can’t function when the heart has stopped beating,” said Dr Sam Parnia, a former research fellow at Southampton University, now at the State University of New York, who led the study.

“But in this case, conscious awareness appears to have continued for up to three minutes into the period when the heart wasn’t beating, even though the brain typically shuts down within 20-30 seconds after the heart has stopped.

“The man described everything that had happened in the room, but importantly, he heard two bleeps from a machine that makes a noise at three minute intervals. So we could time how long the experienced lasted for.

“He seemed very credible and everything that he said had happened to him had actually happened.”

Of 2,060 cardiac arrest patients studied, 330 survived and of 140 surveyed, 39 per cent said they had experienced some kind of awareness while being resuscitated.

Although many could not recall specific details, some themes emerged. One in five said they had felt an unusual sense of peacefulness while nearly one third said time had slowed down or speeded up.

Some recalled seeing a bright light; a golden flash or the Sun shining. Others recounted feelings of fear or drowning or being dragged through deep water. 13 per cent said they had felt separated from their bodies and the same number said their sensed had been heightened.

Dr Parnia believes many more people may have experiences when they are close to death but drugs or sedatives used in the process of rescuitation may stop them remembering.

“Estimates have suggested that millions of people have had vivid experiences in relation to death but the scientific evidence has been ambiguous at best.

“Many people have assumed that these were hallucinations or illusions but they do seem to corresponded to actual events.

“And a higher proportion of people may have vivid death experiences, but do not recall them due to the effects of brain injury or sedative drugs on memory circuits.

“These experiences warrant further investigation. “

Dr David Wilde, a research psychologist and Nottingham Trent University, is currently compiling data on out-of-body experiences in an attempt to discover a pattern which links each episode.

He hopes the latest research will encourage new studies into the controversial topic.

“Most studies look retrospectively, 10 or 20 years ago, but the researchers went out looking for examples and used a really large sample size, so this gives the work a lot of validity.

“There is some very good evidence here that these experiences are actually happening after people have medically died.

“We just don’t know what is going on. We are still very much in the dark about what happens when you die and hopefully this study will help shine a scientific lens onto that.”

The study was published in the journal Resuscitation.

Dr Jerry Nolan, Editor-in-Chief at Resuscitation said: “Dr Parnia and his colleagues are to be congratulated on the completion of a fascinating study that will open the door to more extensive research into what happens when we die.”

Revolutionary Cannabis Patch Successfully Treats Fibromyalgia and Nerve Pain (without getting you high!) 

In November 2016, Cannabis Science announced 2 new pharmaceutical developments in the form of cannabis skin patches for pain. Representatives claim the skin patch will be more effective than cannabis-based topical creams, pills, or injections due to its more accurate dosing (1).

Currently, the skin patches are not yet available and no official date has been given by Cannabis Science for clinical trials. Nevertheless, should research and development progress as expected, the cannabis skin patch could prove to be a much-needed new option for treating complicated chronic pain conditions including fibromyalgia and diabetic neuropathy.

Does Cannabis Work for Treating Pain?

medical marijuana

The most common natural plant cannabinoids (phytocannabinoids) are: THC, cannabidiol (CBD), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC), and cannabinol (CBN). While the majority of research and public attention has been directed at THC, the new skin patch development uses the CBD, otherwise known as cannabidiol(1).

Research shows that CBD has several beneficial properties, including (5):

  • anti-inflammatory
  • analgesic (pain relief)
  • greater antioxidant activity than vitamins C or E
  • neuroprotective

CBD is a non-euphoriant, and some research actually suggests that this particular cannabinoid reduces the effect of the other euphoriant cannabinoids, lessening their psychoactive effects including panic, anxiety, intoxication, and heart palpitations. In short, taking isolated CBD will not alter your state of mind like smoking or consuming marijuana would.

Cannabis Science CEO, Raymond Dabney states, “As more states nationwide legislate for the legalization of Cannabis and Cannabis derived medications, we here at Cannabis Science are focused on developing pharmaceutical formulations and applications to supply the huge growing demand expected over the coming few years.”

medical uses for cannabis

Thanks to a growing body of research exploring the medical uses of cannabis, and a cultural openness to medical marijuana use, the cannabis skin patch may soon be a real option available to those suffering from painful conditions like diabetic nerve damage and fibromyalgia.

Diabetic Neuropathy and Cannabis

Diabetic neuropathy is a group of nerve disorders associated with diabetes. While nerve damage can start at any point for those with diabetes, people who have had diabetes for 25 years or more or who have difficulty managing their blood sugar or blood pressure levels, have the highest risk (2).

Since nerve damage can occur in every organ system, symptoms can be varied. Some people with nerve damage won’t experience any noticeable symptoms at all. The 4 main types of diabetic nerve damage come with their own unique set of symptoms:

Diabetic Nerve Damage Symptoms

1. Peripheral Neuropathy: The most common type of neuropathy is peripheral neuropathy, which usually manifests in hands and feet as (2):

  • numbness
  • tingling
  • sharp pain
  • sensitivity to touch and temperature

2. Autonomic Neuropathy: This type of nerve damage affects the cardiovascular system, eyes, digestive tract, sex organs, urinary tract, and sweat glands. Symptoms include (2):

  • noticeable changes in digestion and bladder function
  • sexual dysfunction in both men and women
  • inability to manifest usual warning signs of low blood sugar
  • trouble seeing at night
  • profuse sweating

3. Proximal Neuropathy: Proximal neuropathy is localized in the legs. It’s associated with (2):

  • pain in legs, hips, thighs or bottom
  • noticeable weakness in leg muscles

4. Focal Neuropathy: This form of nerve damage can affect any nerve in the body (but most often in the head and arms), causing weakness and pain. Other symptoms include (2):

  • vision problems, aching around eyes
  • facial paralysis
  • acute pain in chest, stomach or abdominals

How Is Diabetic Nerve Damage Treated?

Conventionally, doctors will prescribe patients with diabetic nerve damage painkillers, anticonvulsants or antidepressants such as oxycodone, Ultram, amitriptyline, Cymbalta, or Lyrica. Additionally, they will work with the patient to help keep blood sugar levels balanced.

Should Cannabis Science’s skin patch go through clinical trials and be approved by the FDA, it would provide a more natural and effective way to manage pain from diabetic nerve damage without risk of addiction (a massive problem with opioid prescriptions).

Fibromyalgia and Cannabis

cannabis patch to treat fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia syndrome is a chronic condition often grouped together with arthritis, although it is not an arthritic condition. Fibromyalgia affects mostly women. A 2008 report estimated that about 5 million adult Americans suffer from fibromyalgia (4). Sufferers of fibromyalgia experience chronic non-localized pain, tenderness, and intense fatigue. Sometimes, fibromyalgia is accompanied by other symptoms including (3):

  • brain fog
  • headaches
  • morning stiffness
  • restless leg syndrome
  • painful menstrual cramps
  • irritable bowel syndrome

How is Fibromyalgia Treated?

Unfortunately, fibromyalgia can be tricky to treat; this is complicated by the fact that many medical providers are not familiar with fibromyalgia or its various treatments. The FDA has currently approved 3 drugs for fibromyalgia treatment: Duloxetine, Milnacipran, and Pregabalin.

The Cannabis Science skin patch might be a promising treatment option for many fibromyalgia patients, especially those for whom the 3 current drugs don’t have an effect. It would also provide a less risky solution than the current drugs, which come with their own long lists of side effects and long-term risks.

Help us spread awareness of this potential new treatment by sharing this article with your friends and family. We will continue to follow the development of the Cannabis Science skin patch and provide updates as new studies and trial information becomes available.


Human-pig hybrid formed in the lab for the first time

Scientists have successfully created a human-pig hybrid be implanting human stem cells inside of a pig and watching them grow.  The process brings excitement to those that may need an organ transplant, as we can, very literally, grow the organs we need within a non-human animal.

The numbers tell us that a new person gets put on the list of people awaiting an organ transplant every 10 minutes and every day 22 people die without receiving the organ they need.  This process could change that intricately.

The scientists have created what’s known as a chimera: an organism that contains cells from two different species.

“In ancient civilizations, chimeras were associated with God,” says lead study author Jun Wu of the Salk Institute.  He goes on to say that our ancestors thought “the chimeric form can guard humans.”  Perhaps, with this new creation, they can.

Watch the video. URL:


Why The Best Hospitals Are Managed by Doctors.

Healthcare has become extraordinarily complex — the balance of quality against cost, and of technology against humanity, are placing ever-increasing demands on clinicians. These challenges require extraordinary leaders. Doctors were once viewed as ill-prepared for leadership roles because their selection and training led them to become “heroic lone healers.” But this is changing. The emphasis on patient-centered care and efficiency in the delivery of clinical outcomes means that physicians are now being prepared for leadership. The Best Hospitals The Mayo Clinic is America’s best hospital, according to the 2016 US News and World Report (USNWR) ranking. Cleveland Clinic comes in second.

The CEOs of both — John Noseworthy and Delos “Toby” Cosgrove — are highly skilled physicians. In fact, both institutions have been physician-led since their inception around a century ago. Might there be a general message here? A study published in 2011 examined CEOs in the top-100 best hospitals in USNWR in three key medical specialties: cancer, digestive disorders, and cardiovascular care. A simple question was asked: are hospitals ranked more highly when they are led by medically trained doctors or non-MD professional managers? The analysis showed that hospital quality scores are approximately 25% higher in physician-run hospitals than in manager-run hospitals. The findings of course do not prove that doctors make better leaders, though the results are surely consistent with that claim. Other studies also find this correlation. Research by Nick Bloom, Raffaella Sadun, and John Van Reenen revealed how important good management practices are to hospital performance. But they also found that it is the proportion of managers with a clinical degree that had the largest positive effect; in other words, the separation of clinical and managerial knowledge inside hospitals was associated with worse management. Support for the idea that physician-leaders are advantaged in healthcare is consistent with observations from multiple other sectors. Domain experts – “expert leaders” (like physicians in hospitals) — have been linked with better organizational performance in settings as diverse as universities, where scholar-leaders enhance the research output of their organizations, to basketball teams, where former

Research by Nick Bloom, Raffaella Sadun, and John Van Reenen revealed how important good management practices are to hospital performance. But they also found that it is the proportion of managers with a clinical degree that had the largest positive effect; in other words, the separation of clinical and managerial knowledge inside hospitals was associated with worse management. Support for the idea that physician-leaders are advantaged in healthcare is consistent with observations from multiple other sectors. Domain experts – “expert leaders” (like physicians in hospitals) — have been linked with better organizational performance in settings as diverse as universities, where scholar-leaders enhance the research output of their organizations, to basketball teams, where former All Star players turned coaches are disproportionately linked to NBA success, and in Formula One racing where former drivers excel as team leaders. Why doctors make good managers… What are the attributes of physician-leaders that might account for this association with enhanced organizational performance? As leaders, do physicians create a more sympathetic and productive work environment for other c

Why doctors make good managers… What are the attributes of physician-leaders that might account for this association with enhanced organizational performance? As leaders, do physicians create a more sympathetic and productive work environment for other clinicians, because they are “one of them”? Does being a physician inform leadership through a shared understanding about the motivations and incentives of other clinicians? When asked this question, Dr. Toby Cosgrove, CEO of Cleveland Clinic, responded without hesitation, “credibility … peer-to-peer credibility.” In other words, when an outstanding physician heads a major hospital, it signals that they have “walked the walk,” and thus have earned credibility and insights into the needs of their fellow physicians. But we would argue that credibility may also be signaled to important external stakeholders — future employees, patients, the pharmaceutical industry, donors, and so on. The Mayo website notes that it is physician-led because, “This helps ensure a continued focus on our primary value, the needs of the patient come first.” Having spent their careers looking through a patient-focused lens, physicians moving into executive positions might be expected to bring a patient-focused strategy.

In a recent study that matched random samples of U.S. and UK employees with employers, we found that having a boss who is an expert in the core business is associated with high levels of employee job satisfaction and low intentions of quitting. Similarly, physician-leaders may know how to raise the job satisfaction of other clinicians, thereby contributing to enhanced organizational performance. Our research suggests that if a manager understands, through their own experience, what is needed to complete a job to the highest standard, then they may be more likely to create the right work environment, set appropriate goals and accurately evaluate others’ contributions. Having an expert leader at the helm, such as an exemplary physician, may also send a signal to external stakeholders, such as new hires or patients, about organizational priorities.

These factors are revealed in new work soon to be released. Finally, we might expect a highly talented physician to know what “good” looks like when hiring other physicians. Cosgrove suggests that physician-leaders are also more likely to “tolerate crazy ideas” (innovative ideas like the first coronary artery bypass, performed by René Favaloro at the Cleveland Clinic in the late ‘60s). Cosgrove believes that the Cleveland Clinic unlocks talent by giving safe space to people with extraordinary ideas and importantly, that leadership tolerates appropriate failure, which is a natural part of scientific endeavor and progress. …and how training can make them even better ones. Physician-leaders appear to be the most effective leaders precisely because they are physicians. Yet, great leadership also takes social skills. Medical care is one of the few sectors where lack of teamwork might actually cost lives, yet physicians are not trained to be team players.

Nor is there evidence that it is the team players who select into medicine. Indeed, the favored nature of physician leadership of hospitals is even more remarkable for the leadership and followership handicaps that physicians must overcome in becoming doctors. In view of this handicap, Dr. Victor Dzau, President of the National Academy of Medicine, considers those successful physician-leaders (who largely lack formal leadership training) as “accidental leaders.” Physicians have traditionally been trained in “command and control” environments as “heroic lone healers” who are collaboratively challenged. In the context of this paradox, that medical training on the whole conspires against great leadership, there is a clear need to train physicians more systematically. One model has been pioneered by Paul Taheri, CEO of Yale Medicine, who has been engaging doctors in management training for some time. He has focused on a two-tier approach: the first introduces physicians to the fundamental principles of business in the delivery of healthcare, and personal leadership development, through a day a month programme spread over a year. Taheri sends around 40 medical faculty annually.


For those physicians who stand out as emergent leaders, the next step is an MBA. Taheri insists that in the executive programs physicians are always trained with other physicians, but by design they are taken away from their hospital environment into the safe learning environment of the business school. The Cleveland Clinic has also been training physicians to lead for many years. For example, a cohort-based annual course, “Leading in Health Care,” began in the early 1990s and has invited nominated, high-potential physicians (and more recently nurses and administrators) to engage in 10 days of offsite training in leadership competencies which fall outside the domain of traditional medical training. Core to the curriculum is emotional intelligence (with 360-degree feedback and executive coaching), teambuilding, conflict resolution, and situational leadership.

The course culminates in a team-based innovation project presented to hospital leadership. 61% of the proposed innovation projects have had a positive institutional impact. Moreover, in ten years of follow-up after the initial course, 43% of the physician participants have been promoted to leadership positions at Cleveland Clinic. In-house programs have been developed in many healthcare institutions (including Virginia Mason, Hartford Healthcare, the University of Kentucky, etc.), by medical societies like the American Association of Physician Leadership, and by business schools (including Wharton, Harvard Business School, the Weatherhead School of Management, and soon at Cass Business School in London).

There seems to be a widening consensus that training physicians for leadership matters. Such training promises to enhance the pipeline of physician-leaders so that the benefits of physician leadership can be more broadly realized. Source


The FDA just shot down a new rheumatoid arthritis drug.

The FDA just rejected a new daily pill to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

rheumatoid arthritis

Pharmaceutical companies Lilly and Incyte said on Friday that their drug, baricitinib, had been issued a complete response letter , which explains why the drug didn’t get approval.

In its letter, the FDA told Lilly and Incyte that it wanted more data on what the right dose for the drug is. The FDA also wants more data about potential safety issues.

The FDA had previously pushed back its review date of baricitinib by three months. Even so, analysts largely expected the FDA to approve baricitinib, especially after the European Commission approved the drug in February. If approved would have been a competitor to Pfizer’s Xeljanz.

“We are disappointed with this action. We remain confident in the benefit/risk of baricitinib as a new treatment option for adults with moderate-to-severe RA,” Christi Shaw , Lilly Bio-Medicines president said in a news release . The companies plan to resubmit the drug to the FDA.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a common, chronic inflammatory condition that affects the joints. There are a number of ways to treat the disease, such as the chemotherapy drug methotrexate.

Soure: BMJ

Scientists locate the protein that will extend your life and figure out how to make it last longer.

“Monkey to Man” Isn’t What Evolution Looks Like

The first time someone depicted human evolution in a horizontal sequence was 1863, four years after Darwin published “On the Origin of Species,” the foundation to evolutionary biology. Darwin depicted evolution very differently, using a branching diagram that showed evolution as a complex process where no single organism is the sole descendant of any other — pretty close to how biologists view it today. But despite how wrong it was, the simple, logical progression of the “monkey-to-man” image was more engaging. It has lived on in various forms to this day, most famously in Rudolph Franz Zallinger’s 1965 illustration “The Road to Homo Sapiens.” So why is it wrong? Evolution is not regular and predictable like the image suggests. It’s messy, hitting dead ends at some points and turning back around at others. Perhaps evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould said it best: “Life is a copiously branching bush, continually pruned by the grim reaper of extinction, not a ladder of predictable progress.”

This is NOT What Evolution Looks Like

 From right to left, the image depicts Homo Sapiens, Cro-Magnon, Neandertal, Ramepithecus, Oreopithecus, and Dryopithecus.00:23

  1. Some of the species in the image are just wrong. The specimen that Cro-Magnon was based on turned out to be a modern Homo Sapiens, so it didn’t technically exist. We also didn’t evolve from Neandertals: we had a shared ancestor, but we coexisted until around 40,000 years ago.01:49
  2. Evolution isn’t a linear process. There are plenty of other organisms with which we share ancestors that are just as successful, like chimps and orangutans.

Einstein’s Special Theory Of Relativity Was Initially Met With A Universal Eye-Roll

Everyone has heard of Albert Einstein’s special theory of relativity. Just imagine the universal explosion of praise that happened when he published this momentous work of science! Then stop imagining. Whatever you’re thinking, it probably went nothing like that.


Why People Didn’t Believe Einstein

When Einstein published his paper on special relativity in 1905, the reception wasn’t exactly warm. His paper talks about “ether,” a theoretical substance that was then accepted as the stuff space is made of, mostly because its existence helped the equations work out. As JSTOR Daily reports, “Einstein argued that space and time were bound up together (something he would elaborate on in his theory of general relativity of 1915, adding gravity to the mix of space/time), a complicated idea that contradicted the long-held belief in something called ether. […] Einstein’s theory noted there was no experimental confirmation for the substance. There was no proof it existed, other than that the scientific establishment had accepted the concept.”

Change is hard. For years after Einstein put his contradiction of ether out into the world, Germany remained the only place it was really taken seriously. In Britain, the idea fell on deaf ears. (Britain was, after all, where the idea of ether originated.) In France, Einstein’s work wasn’t really even considered until after he visited the country in 1910. A few understood it in the U.S., but generally considered it impractical and absurd. What made Germany different? According to scholar Stanley Goldberg, “Many German physicists opposed Einstein’s theory, but it is only in Germany that its opponents understood it […] It was the seriousness of the German response, in my view, which ultimately led to the acceptance of relativity, for it insured that the theory would be examined, criticized, and elaborated upon.”

What Does His Theory Actually Say?

 Besides denying the existence of ether, Einstein’s special and general theories of relativity helped modern science take a grand leap in its understanding of the universe. does a wonderful job of summing up both theories: “In 1905, Albert Einstein determined that the laws of physics are the same for all non-accelerating observers, and that the speed of light in a vacuum was independent of the motion of all observers. This was the theory of special relativity. It introduced a new framework for all of physics and proposed new concepts of space and time. Einstein then spent 10 years trying to include acceleration in the theory and published his theory of general relativity in 1915. In it, he determined that massive objects cause a distortion in space-time, which is felt as gravity.” Even more impressive, the theories Einstein worked out on paper have since been confirmed with experimental evidence. Regardless of how scientists considered them at the time, Einstein’s theories about space and time have proven to be the most accurate we have so far.

Is there something you’re curious about? Email us at editors (at) And follow Curiosity on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

Watch And Learn: Our Favorite Videos On The Theory Of Relativity

Theory of General Relativity

This cute animation does an excellent job of explaining the history and meaning of general relativity.

The Strong Force Is What’s Holding The Universe Together

Particle physicists might seem like a dry bunch, but they have their fun. Why else would there be such a thing as a “strange quark”? When it comes to the fundamental nuclear forces, though, they don’t mess around: the strongest force in nature is known simply as the “strong force,” and it’s the force that literally holds existence together.


Zoom In On The Elementary Particles

 To find out what the strong force is, you need to have a basic understanding of what physicists call the elementary particles. Let’s start with an atom—helium, for example. A helium atom has two electrons zipping around a nucleus made up of two neutrons and two protons. For most high-school chemistry classes, that’s where the tiny particles end. But you can zoom even further into the atom: those protons and neutrons are a class of particle called hadrons (à la the Large Hadron Collider!), which are made up of even smaller particles called quarks. Quarks are what’s known as an elementary particle, since they can’t be split up any further. They’re as small as things get. There are two types of elementary particles; the other is the lepton. Quarks and leptons each have six “flavors”, and each of those have an antimatter version. (The electrons in our helium atom are a flavor of lepton, so we’re as zoomed in on them as is possible.) Heady stuff! Check out the diagram below if you’re getting lost.
The Standard Model

Forces Of Nature

 Following so far? There are four more parts to this puzzle we call the Standard Model, which is the theory of all theories when it comes to particle physics. Those parts are the fundamental forces. Two are probably familiar: gravity is the force between two particles that have mass, and electromagnetism is the force between two particles that have a charge. The two others are known as nuclear forces, and they’re less familiar because they only happen on the atomic scale. Those ones are known as the weak force and the strong force. The weak force operates between electrons and neutrinos (another kind of lepton), but of course, it’s the strong force we’re here to talk about.

The strong force is what binds quarks together to form hadrons like protons and neutrons. Physicists first conceived of this force’s existence to explain why an atom’s nucleus can have more than one positively charged proton and still stay together—if you’ve ever played with magnets, you know that a positive charge will always repel another positive charge. Eventually, they figured out that the strong force not only holds protons together in the nucleus, but it also holds quarks together in the protons themselves. The force actually comes from a type of force-carrier particle called a boson. (Surely you remember the 2012 discovery of the Higgs boson?) The particular boson that exerts this powerful force is called a “gluon”, since it “glues” the nucleus together (we told you that physicists were a fun bunch).

Here’s what makes the strong force so fascinating: unlike an electromagnetic force, which decreases as you pull the two charged particles apart (think of magnets again!), the strong force actually gets stronger the further apart the particles go. It gets so strong that it limits how far two quarks can separate. Once they hit that limit, that’s when the magic happens: the huge amount of energy it took for them to separate is converted to mass, following Einstein’s famous equation E = mc2. That’s right—the strongest force in the universe is strong enough to turn energy into matter, the thing that makes up existence as you know it. We learned some particle physics, everyone. Who needs a snack?


Watch And Learn: Videos About Particle Physics To Make You Sound Smart

The Four Fundamental Forces Of Physics Explained

Here they are, in all their glory!

The Atom Diagram Isn’t What An Atom Looks Like

The diagram of an atom is among the most familiar symbols of science there is. Unfortunately, it’s not actually what atoms look like, and we’ve known that for nearly a century.


How The Diagram Came To Be

 The history of the atomic model is long—we could go back as far as the ancient Greeks, really—but for our purposes, we can start around 1900. It was about then that Sir Joseph John Thomson discovered the electron, which is the negatively charged part of an atom. He proposed that these electrons were captured in uniform spheres of positively charged matter. This was dubbed the “plum-pudding model,” since the electrons in the positive substance is a bit like plums in English pudding. New Zealand physicist Ernest Rutherford discovered that if you shoot positive particles at atoms (in the form of gold foil), they don’t all bounce off the way they should if there was a large mass of positive “pudding.” Instead, some bounce off, but most pass through, suggesting that electrons are spaced around a small mass of positive substance—a nucleus, if you will. He rejiggered the model in 1911 to have electrons orbiting a nucleus the way that planets orbit the sun, which was dubbed the “planetary model,” for obvious reasons. The planetary model has become the most famous symbol for the atom—even though it was refined only two years later by Danish physicist Niels Bohr.

The problem with the planetary model is that electrons would lose energy by orbiting, causing them to collapse into the nucleus. Bohr’s model solved this: instead of orbiting willy nilly, electrons orbited only at very specific energy levels. Electrons could jump from level to level if they absorbed or released energy, but they never drifted between levels. The Bohr model is probably the most popular in science textbooks (you’d recognize it as a nucleus surrounded by ever larger circles of electrons) but—you guessed it—it’s mostly wrong, too.

What’s Really Going On?

 Steven Dutch of the University of Wisconsin Green Bay clearly sums up the next step in the atomic model: “By the 1920’s, physicists had discovered that matter also has wave-like properties and that it just doesn’t work at the atomic level to regard particles as tiny points with precise locations and energies. Matter is inherently ‘fuzzy.’ They gave up thinking of electrons as tiny planets altogether.” Electrons don’t really follow paths at all. Physicists discovered that they’re actually quantum particles that exist in many different places at once. They still occupy individual energy levels, but instead of a path, each electron’s many-places-at-once location could be thought of as a cloud. That’s why it’s known as the electron cloud model.

That’s not to say Bohr was wrong. It’s a good way to simplify a very complicated concept, and it actually works surprisingly well for simple atoms like hydrogen. But the electron cloud model illustrates the latest knowledge about the structure of an atom. The planetary model is pretty, but reality it ain’t.

Watch And Learn: Our Favorite Videos About The Atom

This Is Not What an Atom Looks Like

SciShow uses the planetary model in its intro, but also explains why it’s wrong.