Science is a fascinating subject, and it’s all around us all of the time. From the way we evolved to what we eat, to our medical and technological advances, we have science and math to thank. Scientists all over the world are constantly making new discoveries and breakthroughs that may seem insignificant at first, but can potentially impact our daily lives in the future. In this article, we take a look at some of the most exciting and innovative science discoveries of the past year that could soon be affecting us all.
1. NASA Finds Evidence of Water on Mars!
In September 2015, NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter found evidence that liquid water may still flow on Mars. This is significant because it validates the thought that briny water flows on Mars in the present time, making the possibility of humans living on Mars someday more of a reality every day. The discovery of water on the Red Planet also opens up the possibility of studying its geology and potentially discovering signs of life.
2. The First New Antibiotic in 30 years!
Antibiotic resistance is on the rise and spreading faster than the introduction of new compounds into clinical practice. In January 2015, a collaboration between 4 institutions in the United States and Germany discovered Teixobactin, a new antibiotic without detectable resistance. This research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and German agencies. The properties of this new compound suggest a path towards developing antibiotics that are likely to avoid the development of resistance.
3. Colors That Never Fade!
A University of Sheffield team led by Dr. Andrew Parnell used X-ray Scattering scans at France’s ESRF facility to study the blue jay’s blue and white feathers, and discovered that the birds’ vibrant-colored feathers come from well-controlled changes to their feathers’ nanostructure. This discovery could make it possible for manufacturers to produce cheaper paints and fabrics that never fade in color.
4. Google’s AI Can Learn Language and Answer Questions!
Google researchers Oriol Vinyals and Quoc Le built a system that could analyze existing conversations and teach itself to respond to you. This machine uses “neural nets” which approximate the human brains’ neuron patterns, and it is already used to recognize faces on Facebook, identify words spoken into phones, and translate phone calls from one language to another. This could change the world even more than it already has! Machines that can think and adapt could change the way we get news, get help from tech support, how we communicate, and more – these forms of Artificial Intelligence are already affecting our lives.
5. Better Than 20/20 Vision and 3D Camera Optics!
Optometrist Dr. Garth Webb, founder and CEO of Ocumetics Technology Corp, has created a new bionic lens to replace the natural lens in a human eye. This lens will improve eyesight up to 3 times better than 20/20, and can prevent cataracts. Animal and human trials are ongoing and Dr. Webb hopes to have his lens on the market by 2017. Ocumetics is also using its lens technology to develop 3-D camera optics that mimic the function of human eyes.
6. Tesla’s Powerwall Solar Battery!
Elon Musk’s Tesla has released the Powerwall Solar Battery, already available for sale in Australia. The Powerwall can store energy both from the grid and from renewable energy sources like solar. It’s compact, rechargeable, and ideal for use in homes and businesses, and costs less than similar batteries from competitors. Having a more affordable way to harness solar energy for homes can help reduce our carbon footprint.
7. Mesh That Can Catch Oil!
Scientists at Ohio State University have created a stainless steel mesh coated in a fine dusting of silica nanoparticles, which lets water through but not oil. This could be scaled up to clean up oil spills in oceans and help save our environment. This particle could even eventually be used to detect oil underground in addition to cleaning oil spills.
8. Charging Batteries in Minutes!
Engineers at the University of California in San Diego are working to recharge smaller modules within batteries and calling it Project M-BEAM. In addition, researchers at the University of California in Riverside have developed a three-dimensional, silicon-decorated, cone-shaped carbon-nanotube cluster architecture for lithium ion battery anodes that could enable charging of portable electronics in 10 minutes. Soon, you could be charging your phone and car in just minutes, revolutionizing the way we use energy and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.
In conclusion, science is not only all around us, but it’s constantly advancing and changing the way we live our lives. The above discoveries are just a few of the many innovations happening in the world of science and technology, and they could all have a major impact on our future. From living on Mars to having better vision, to charging batteries in mere minutes, the possibilities for our future are truly limitless.