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“What If?” Serious Answers to Slightly Crazy Science Questions

What if there were no stupid questions? (There aren’t.) Turns out you can learn a lot about science by trying to find earnest answers to wildly hypothetical, vaguely absurd scenarios.

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What if the dinosaurs had survived—or all viruses suddenly disappeared? What if the planet was made of blueberries, or gravity stopped working? Even the most outlandish thought experiments can provide insight into how the world works. So let your imagination run wild with this curated collection exploring eleven out-there scientific “What Ifs?”

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What if All Viruses Disappeared?

Rachel Nuwer

If all viruses disappeared, the world would be very different — and not necessarily for the better. But what exactly would happen?