The average person can quote more untruths than truths about our physical world - a fact that disappoints me. My disappointment turns into irritation when I can't convince a misinformed person that their "belief" is only an "old wives’ tale". I’m a physicist and engineer, which means that I know a very little bit more than the non-physicist/engineer about the physical laws of our universe. Just enough to know that what fails the common sense test is often untrue. One such belief is that hot water freezes faster than cold water. You wouldn’t believe the number of times that I’ve been told this yet I have NEVER been able to convince one of the believers that the old wives’ tale is not true.
Today, I was searching the internet and one of the results was a paper titled “Can hot water freeze faster than cold water”? (Just my luck!) The author of the paper states that this tale is true but only if certain conditions are met. I find the paper believable but I still disagree with this tale. I can make an equivalent argument that “man can fly”. Under certain conditions. Let the man buy an airline ticket. Ensure that the man has in his possession all the necessary papers to satisfy the applicable security requirements. Let the man board the plane, take his seat and abide by all of the applicable rules of conduct for a passenger. Let the plane in which the man is seated take off successfully and fly (to move in the air with wings without support from the ground). Yep, hot water freezes faster than cold water and man can fly.
If you have the time and interest, I suggest that you read the paper titled “Can hot water freeze faster than cold water?”
If you are interested in checking out a few more “wives’ tales” for some that you like I may believe, take this link to Wikipedia.