Man is amazing! With the help of Science, man is able to uncover, discover and invent new things. Everyday, scientists and researchers all over the world are working hard to make and discover new and exciting things that will help and shape the life of mankind today and in the future.
The year 2015 is no different. The year isn’t even over yet but scientists made a bunch of breakthroughs that will change the course of mankind. The greatest scientific discoveries only inspire us to learn more about the world around and beyond us.
The scientific breakthroughs of 2015 will amaze and inspire new generations of young and curious scientists to push the boundaries of the world we know even further. Here are some of the greatest scientific breakthroughs of the year.
New Google AI Can Learn Language and Carry on Conversation
Google’s developers have just created a new artificial intelligence that is able to learn to speak and model language. It can have a complex conversation, and can even “respond” to questions about morality and philosophy. During testing, Google’s AI mainly helped users solve computer problems, but this development represents a step forward in the software industry.
New Species of Ichthyosaurs Discovered in Scotland
Scientists were very excited to announced that they have discovered a new species of a marine reptile on the Isle of Skye in Scotland in January 2014. The dolphin-like creature is said to be inhabiting the waters around the area around 170 million years ago. The prehistoric reptile could measure up to 14 feet long.
8 Minute Surgery Could Give Everyone Perfect Vision
Obtometrist Dr. Garth Webb from British Colombia invented a revolutionary lens that instantly give patients perfect vision. The lens called Ocumetics Bionic Lens can prevent cataracts and could be implanted through an 8-minute surgery. The lens will give perfect vision without the need for glasses.
First Man Made Leaf, with Implications for Space Travel, Is Invented
The first man-made that can produce oxygen have been created! A graduate from the Royal College of Art, Julian Melchiorri, invented the first artificial, biologically functional leaf. Melchiorri made the leaf from chloroplasts and silk protein that is capable of absorbing carbon dioxide and light, and will release breathable oxygen.
Duke Announces First Laboratory Grown Contracting Human Muscle
A team at Duke University successfully grown a human skeletal muscle, in a lab, that contracts and responts to external stimuli like the way a native tissue does. Using human cells that progressed beyond stem cells but haven’t become muscle tissue yet to grow the skeletal muscle. The lab grown muscle was able to respond from pharmaceuticals, electrical pulses, and other external stimuli.
This discovery could revolutionize the field of medicine. A new drug could be tested without using human subjects and doctors can now grow a patient’s muscle for testing rather than take a painful and impossible muscle biopsy.
The World Is in the Midst of a Sixth Mass Extinction
This is a big bad news! In an article published in Science Advances, an analysis states that we are currently in the midst of a sixth mass extinction. This analysis builds on decades of scientific research. And, the article pointed out that the sixth mass extinction is caused by humans. This event would very much likely lead to mankind’s demise.
Planet X (and Planet Y) Might Actually Exist
In has long been theorize that a planet or two may be located in space far beyond Pluto. This year, according to the latest analysis of the orbits of what scientists call ETNOs or extreme trans-Neptunian objects, Planet X might actually exist. Through analyzing patterns, they found significantly different orbital characteristics than the theory predicts.
Lead author Carlos de la Fuente Marcos states, “This excess of objects with unexpected orbital parameters makes us believe that some invisible forces are altering the distribution of the orbital elements of the ETNOs, and we consider that the most probable explanation is that other unknown planets exist beyond Neptune and Pluto.”
First New Antibiotic in 30 Years Is Discovered
Just this January 2015, scientists discovered the first new antibiotic in almost 30 years. A team of scientists at Northwestern University discovered the new drug, Teixobactin, using new methods. Their methods could lead to discovering even more new antibiotics. The Teixobactin was found to treat a number of common bacterial infections such as tuberculosis, C. diff, etc., and the antibiotic could also help prevent the growing resistance to other antibacterial drugs.
Scientists Extend the Lifespan of Fruit Flies
A team led by Eduardo Moreno at the University of Bern developed a new method to extend the lifespan of fruit flies. The team selected cells that show less damage and negative effects from stress and “external insults” (like UV-rays). The research could help in progressing the human anti-aging research.
Possible New Vaccine Blocks All HIV Strains
The Scripps Research Institute have created a new drug candidate that could potentially work as a new kind of vaccine. The drug is effective against HIV-1, HIV-2, and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV).
International Researchers Discover a New State of Matter
For years, we know that there are 3 states of matter namely gas, solids, and liquids. This year, scientists revealed that matter can also be in a state called the “Jahn-Teller metal.” In this state, matter’s features localized electrons on the fullerene molecules, demonstrating co-existence with metallicity.
This discovery can open up all new kinds of opportunities for the world of superconductors.
Scientists Slow the Speed of Light
Light speed is regarded as an absolute. It may slow down when passing through certain materials but it usually speeds back up again. But, a team of scientists in Scotland successfully slowed down the speed of light to less than light speed. The team sent photons (individual particles of light) through a special mask which changed their shape. When the photons returned to “free space,” the light particles never returned to light speed.
This discovery may change how we measure distances in space.
NASA Observes the Biggest Outburst Ever From the Milky Way’s Black Hole
NASA announced that Chandra X-ray Observatory had recorded the largest flare ever in the Milky Way Galaxy. The announcement which was done in January 5, 2015, reported that the flare came from the supermassive black hole that lies at the center of our galaxy. It was 400 times brighter than the usual output from the black hole.
Planet with Rings 200 Times Larger Than Saturn’s Discovered
A planet with a ring system that is 200 times larger than that of Saturn’s was discovered by a team of Dutch and American astronomers. The planet was discovered by SuperWASP observatory. It is the first planet of this kind to be discovered outside our own solar system.
The team estimates that the ring system is made up of 30 or more rings, wach of which is tens of millions of kilometers in diameter.
NASA Confirms There’s a Space-Time Vortex Around Earth
This year, NASA also confirmed that predictions of Albert Einstein’s theory of gravity are correct, there is a space-time vortex around Earth.
NASA used Gravity Probe B to confirm the theory. The experiment resulted in 13 new technologies and Prof. Clifford Will, expert in Einstein’s theories, says the discovery will one day be “written up in textbooks as one of the classic experiments in the history of physics.”
Tattoo Removal Cream Invented by Ph.D. Student
Have a bad tattoo? Worry no more because Alec Falkenham, a Ph.D. student at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, have just invented a topical cream that could remove embarrassing or unwanted tattoos. The cream kills the cells that hold the tattoo pigment without damaging the surrounding cells, unlike laser removal.
As of now, Alec Falkenham has only tested the cream on mice, but plans to test it to human tattoos in the near future.
Sea Slugs Steal Genes from Algae and Learn to Photosynthesize
The sea slug E. chlorotica is known to photosynthesize after it had ingested algae but scientists never knew how. Finally, in February 2015, researcher Sidney Pierce and his team found the answer. They discovered that the slugs steal the algae’s genes, specifically the prK gene, which is important in photosynthesis in algae.
This is the first known case of “horizantal gene transfer” or “kleptoplasty.” The slugs are the only multicellular organism that are known to acquire functional genes from other species.
Audi Invents “E-Diesel”
Auto makers are shifting their focus on developing more eco-friendly vehicles. As a part of this shift in the industry, the German auto maker, Audi, made a new combustion engine fuel called “e-diesel.” The e-diesel is just water and carbon dioxide. The fuel is made by taking electricity from renewable sources. This will create hydrogen through reversible electrolysis. Then, the hydrogen is combined with CO2 and the resulting reactions produce a liquid of long-chain hydrocarbons.
Artificial Protein Keeps Monkeys HIV Free
A team of 30 scientists from Scripps Research Institute led by viral immunologist Michael Farzan built a molecule that is based on how HIV infects cells. The protein mimics a human antibody, and it successfully kept monkey HIV free despite researchers injecting them with large doses of the virus.
Scientists Develop Mesh That Can Separate Water and Oil
A stainless steel mesh was developed by researchers at Ohio State University. The mesh has an invisible oil-repelling surface coating. This will make water pass through it while trapping the oil thus filtering the oil from the water. The mesh would certainly be a great help for cleaning up oil spills.
There Might Not Have Been a Big Bang Afterall
A new model developed by physicists in Egypt and Canada suggests that the “Big Bang” may have not happened after all. The new model is capable of accounting for the Big Bang singularity. The model suggests that the universe has no beginning and no end.
Scientists Figure out Actual Average Size of Male Penis
British Journal of Urology International published a study that says that the average size of an erect male penis is 5.16 inches long or 13.12 centimeters. The study synthesized data from 17 other academic papers and the combined measurements of over 15,000 men from all around the world.
The study also concluded that there is no strong evidence linking penis size to other physical features including height, body mass index, or shoe size.
Biologists and Vets Figure out Why Cats Love Boxes
It is no longer a mystery why cats love boxes. Behavioral biologists and veterinarians found the answer. According to them, boxes help to ease the worries of cats by allowing them to hide inside. Also, other cats may just be cold and are looking for a warm place to stay, and a cardboard box is good place to keep warm because it is a great insulator.
Tesla Announces Powerwall Solar Battery
Tesla created the Powerwall Home Battery, the first product from Tesla Energy. The stationary battery (rechargable lithium-ion) can power an entire household, off the grid. The product converts solar energy to power a household.
Scientists Identify the First Warm-Blooded Fish
The opah is the first ever fish to be known as warm-blooded fish in the world.
Oldest Human Fossils Found in Ethiopia
Fossils from the genus Homo (which includes modern humans) have been discovered in Ethiopia. The jawbone named LD 350-1 is determined to be between 2.5 to 2.8 million years old. The jawbone is placed between Lucy and Homo habilis.
Scientists Develop Batteries That Can Charge in Seconds
Engineers at the University of California have successfully developed a supercapacitor that can store as much as a typical battery. The supercapacitor is able to charge in a matter of seconds as opposed to hours. This technology will impact the development of hybrid and electric vehicles, space technology, and consumer electronics.
NASA Confirms Existence of an Ocean on One of Jupiter’s Moons
Ganymede, Jupiter’s moon, is the largest moon in our solar system. Just this year, scientists discovered that beneath the moon’s surface there is an ocean. Scientists have already suspected this since 1970 but only through the observations made with the Hubble Space Telescope has NASA been able to confirm the existence of the ocean.
There’s Water on Mars
In April 2015, Curiosity rover was able to find water below the Martian surface. The discovery of water on Mars contradicts theories that Mars was too cold and arid for liquid water to exist.
Even Nicotine-Free E-Cig Vapor Damages Lung Cells
Researchers found out that e-cigarette solution is still harmful to the lungs. Although cigarettes which have nicotine solution is more harmful, e-cigarettes (free of nicotine) will still damage lung cells. This is because of the substances such as acrolein which are very harmful to the lung.
Surgeons Perform the First Ever Successful Penis Transplant
A man who lost his penis three years earlier was able to receive the first-ever successful penis transplant. The nine-hour surgery was led by Prof. Andre van der Merwe in Tygerberg Hospital in Bellville, Cape Town, South Africa. The team was surprised because they thought the patient will recover in 2 years but it turns out that the patient was able to recover in 4 months. The patient has now have a functional penis after his own penis was lost during a botched circumcision three years earlier.
Fast Food and Supplements Work the Same (When it Comes to Exercise Recovery)
A study from University of Montana discovered that fast food might provide just as much energy boost and as much recovery support after a strenuous workouts as diet supplements such as protein powder and Gatorade.
Skinny Jeans Are a Health Threat
A study shows that wearing skinny jeans can damage your health. Wearing too tight jeans will lead to nerve damage. In turn, this will lead to compartment syndrome, permanent muscle and nerve damage, and even amputation.
Thousand-Year-Old Anglo-Saxon Remedy Kills MRSA
When an Anglo-Saxon scholar and a microbiologist decided to test a recipe found in an Old English compendium called Bald’s Leechbook. They were surprised that the concoction was able to alleviate infections that cause styes, the antibiotic resistan superbug MRSA. The ancient concoction is made of leek and garlic.
Artificial Pancreas Could Help Diabetes Patients Regulate Blood Sugar
An implantable artificial pancreas was developed by scientists. The device could help Type 1 diabetes patient to better control their blood sugar levels. The device is able to continuously measure the user’s glucose levels through using an algorithm designed by researchers, and it will automatically release insulin as needed.