21+ Most Important Scientific Discoveries of 2023: The year 2022 was a great year for science. NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope produced two important breakthroughs: infrared images that show the universe, and evidence of carbon dioxide beyond the solar system. A nasal vaccine was developed to combat the latest coronavirus variants. This prompted a new urgency in the search for a universal flu vaccine.
Many feats that were not new in the past year have been validated by the scientific community. For example, the FDA’s first approval for lab-grown meat. Or signs of significant progress in a particular field. This was evident in the historic procedure that allowed a human to receive a heart transplant from an animal. This is a new level in xenotransplantation. Utah was home to human footprints that date back to the ice age, which has contributed to the enrichment and expansion of our collective knowledge about human development.
To highlight the best scientific achievements of the past year, Stacker consulted scientific journals as well as the most recent news reports to compile a list of 21+ of the major scientific discoveries and innovations of 2023. These fields include biology, geology, engineering, paleontology, genetics, artificial intelligence, and many others.
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Continue reading to find out more about the most important discoveries of 2015 and their implications for health care, technology, and climate.
21+ Most Important Scientific Discoveries 2023
The following are the 22 Most Important Scientific Discoveries are:
The January eruption of Tonga’s volcano was the largest ever recorded
January 15th, Hunga Tonga Ha’apai volcano burst underwater in the South Pacific Ocean. Although volcanic eruptions aren’t known to spend significant amounts of water into space, this eruption sent 146 teragrams of water into the stratosphere. This was enough to temporarily warm the Earth’s atmosphere. NASA says it filled “58,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.”
Ameca makes its debut at the Consumer Electronics Show
Ameca was introduced by Engineered Arts in Britain. It is a robot with a human-like appearance. Ameca has teeth and a gender-neutral body. It can also respond to questions and engages in conversation. Engineered Arts hopes that it will be the first of a series of more advanced humanoids that the company plans on producing.
Discovered a preserved baby mammoth that is 30,000 years old
Paleontologists from Canada’s Yukon region discovered the most complete remains ever found of a woolly mammoth in July. While the bones of these creatures are usually lost elsewhere, the icy climate of the Yukon region allowed for the preservation of the muscle, skin, and DNA of Nuncho ga, the female baby mammoth. The infant was believed to have lived over 30,000 years ago.
Communication breakthroughs with fungus
New studies have revealed that mushrooms–specifically ghost, caterpillar, split gill, and enoki fungi–can “talk” to each other by sending electrical impulses to each other through a web of underground mycelium similar to the human body’s nervous system. Researchers are still not ready to link the communication between mushrooms and humans, even though they were found to use up to 50 words that closely resemble human language. The theory is that fungi communicate information between themselves about food and injuries.
James Webb Space Telescope captures New Images of the Cosmos
Images from the James Webb Space Telescope’s near-infrared camera captured images that stunned the world. It boasts a mirror fivefold larger than the Hubble Space Telescope. The telescope’s mirror allows light in, much like a human eye’s pupil. The larger the mirror, it will capture more light. Infrared light detects colors that are invisible to the human eye and captured scenes of the Pillars of Creation, stars of the Big Bang era, as well as a previously unknown universe. Scientists will benefit from the telescope’s visual data to better understand the star life cycle and create a more precise map of the cosmos.
The organs of dead pigs were revived
The Organix is a machine that allows researchers to inject blood and other bodily fluids into the circulatory system of an organism. This allowed them to revive pigs that had just died. Each major organ displayed some degree of response. This could be a significant step towards developing new methods for transplanting human organs.
Pluto is home to ice volcanoes
NASA’s New Horizons mission discovered two possible cryovolcanoes beneath Pluto’s surface. Cryovolcanoes are formed from frozen ice. This indicates that there could be an internal heat source as well as a liquid ocean under the dwarf planet’s surface. Both of these are crucial stepping stones to establishing the possibility of life on other planets.
Rescue of the Endurance ship off Antarctica
Because of the unstable conditions and the “worst part of the worst sea” in Antarctica, the Endurance was found. Amazingly, the ship was found almost identical to its original condition in 1915 when it fell. This is due to the freezing temperatures and absence of wood-eating organisms. Researchers were able to photograph the wreck in amazing detail due to the clarity of Antarctic waters.
NASA’s DART mission destroys Dimorphos Asteroid
A celestial object’s orbit has been changed for the first time ever in history. NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (also known as DART) collided successfully with Dimorphos in September. This event provided insight into both how humans can develop Earth’s defense technologies as well as the properties of asteroids. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson explained why the agency carried out the mission and said: “All of our responsibility to protect the planet.” It’s the only one that we have.
The first complete sequence of the human genome
The National Human Genome Research Institute completed the remaining 8% of the human genome sequences, building on the work of the Human Genome Project which sequenced 92% of it two decades ago. Geneticists can now access the complete human genome sequence. This provides valuable insights into cell function and individual variations in DNA.
Germany’s first hydrogen-powered Train
Germany launched a fleet solely powered by hydrogen in northern Lower Saxony. The trains run on hydrogen and oxygen and emit no steam or water. They are expected to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide emissions by 4,000 tons annually.
Greenland has the oldest known DNA
Researchers working in Greenland’s northernmost region discovered DNA samples that date back to 2 million years ago. This is the oldest known DNA. These samples were preserved by the freezing temperatures of the region. Scientists have never been able to study an ecosystem so far back in the past. This discovery has been full of surprises. The area was home to many species that were not known, including mastodons and reindeer, along with dense forests.
Rats were successfully implanted with Human Brain Cells
Since living brain neurons cannot be directly altered or replicated in full in Petri dishes, it has been difficult to study neurological dysfunction in humans. Scientists have succeeded in transplanting and growing them in rats. Early-stage applications showed that the transplanted human cells were nourished and grown in rats. They grew to one-third of their brain area and functioned normally. This milestone offers a promising opportunity for researchers to investigate little-known disorders like autism and schizophrenia.
It has been discovered that some people in comas can be conscious
Scientists discovered that 1 in 5 patients who are comatose have “covert consciousness”, which allows them to comprehend and respond to external stimuli. Although these patients are unable to physically respond to commands, scientists have observed that their brain’s electrical activity changes when they complete tasks. This shows that the patient is able to understand and comprehend what is happening, even though it cannot act on them. This discovery was made possible by brain monitoring technology that has advanced to the point where it could help in developing methods for communicating with and rehabilitating people in comas.
Brain cells grown in a laboratory were able to learn how to play Pong
“Mini-brains”–lab-grown brain cells fostered in Petri dishes–have been taught to play the classic video game Pong, marking the first time lab-grown neural cells have successfully interacted with an external entity. Although this is a significant achievement, it is still controversial whether the cells are capable of being classified as sentient. This development could open up new ways to study neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s.
In human lung tissue, microplastics were discovered
Although microplastics are already abundant in the ocean, their presence was recently discovered in a remote area: the lower airways of human lungs. The microplastics were found in the lung tissue of patients who had undergone routine procedures at the Hull York Medical School, in the United Kingdom. This was in contrast to the symptoms that would indicate their presence. According to Dick Vethaak, an ecotoxicologist, the shocking discovery “proves that plastics are present in our bodies–and it’s something we should not have.”
COVID-19 nasal vaccine
Washington University in St. Louis created the first nasal vaccine against COVID-19. It is believed to provide better protection. Scientists believe that the nasal vaccine is more effective than injectable vaccines after it was shown to prevent infection in mice. It also reaches the nasal cavity directly, preventing severe illness and infection. The vaccine can be administered without needles, which could increase global immunity. India approved the emergency use of the nasal vaccine in December.
AI systems reach new bounds
Many companies are attempting to break new ground in artificial intelligence in the hopes of becoming leaders in transport, health care, and other areas. There have been significant advances in the last year towards fully autonomous cars, virtual nurse assistants to monitor patients at hospitals, emotion-detecting technology for students’ school performances, and “cyborg journalists” that can produce automated reporting.
We are making progress toward a universal flu vaccine
Scientists have been unable to develop a universal flu vaccine for many decades due to the virus’s ability to evolve and overcome immunity. Researchers have created antibodies that are resistant to multiple flu strains by manipulating the hemagglutinins of flu viruses, which are less variable than the rest.
Alaskan crabs suffer a major population drop
Since 2018, a shocking 84% of Alaskan snow crabs have been killed, resulting in the first ban on the species being caught in the Bering Sea. They thrive in cold waters so warming temperatures may be the main culprit for their alarming decline. This makes them visible indicators of climate change’s increasing intensity.
Exoplanet’s atmosphere contains carbon dioxide
The James Webb Space Telescope took images of a large, gas-rich planet located 700 light years away. This was the first clear evidence of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of an outside planet. This important information will help scientists better understand the formation of planets.
A new milestone in nuclear-fusion technology
Although it is extremely difficult to generate enough energy to reproduce the atomic reactions occurring inside the sun’s surface, scientists have successfully created the first controlled ignition reaction. This means that the reaction generated more energy than the input. This fusion reaction is “clean,” meaning that it generates large amounts of energy and does not emit the same emissions as fossil fuels. This landmark could open the door to a new way of providing power to people without causing damage to the Earth’s atmosphere.
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