2016 is ticking to an end, on the way out a look back to the past year, we have witnessed some of greatest achievements in all areas of science. Biotechnology marked one of their major milestone in gene editing, which could change the future beyond our thoughts, whereas physics & chemistry saw some of the great discoveries.
The year 2016 was a perfect blend of feelings, while upgraded in technology suffered some great losses to natural disasters and political downfalls. But to science, 2016 will be the best year garnished in some discoveries and inventions that could take the humanity to better heights. Let us run through some of the greatest achievements of the year:
It wasn’t long since graphene was born, just 10 years old carbon allotrope is on its way creating history. A recent study found that coating graphene on LED filaments would enhance their lifespan by 7 times with reduced costs. The wonder part is that this incorporation will reduce the energy intake by 10% for same luminosity.
If you check the periodic table on your chemistry book you would notice weird names on the 7th row. These were temporary names for some new elements under research, and now they have arrived. The research started on 2004 and took 6 years to complete. The elements got approved by 2015 and now in December 2016 they were officially added to the periodic table by IUPAC. Nihonium (Nh) -113, Moscovium (Mc) -115, Tennessine (Ts) -117, and Oganesson (Og) -118 are the newcomers on the 7th row.
How many states of matter do you know? Possibly solid, liquid and gas might be the common answer or else of you’re a science student you might add plasma and Bose-Einstein condensate too. But others in the series are fermionic condensate, quark-gluon plasma, Rydberg matter & Jahn-Teller Metal. But here is a new one to the list ‘quantum spin liquid’ achieved when the matter in a system interacts through quantum spins.
Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) recorded the ripples of gravitational waves last year September. These recordings might be a key to unlocking the secret of the universe. In this event, scientists recorded gravitational waves from a possible black hole collision that happened 1.3 billion years ago. More careful studies were carried out this year on gravitational waves, paving the way to the beginning of the universe.
A study in 2016 by European Space Agency’s Planck spacecraft revealed that radius of the entire universe is 0.7% lower than what we expected. According to new estimation, the universe might be 45.34 billion light-years in radius, which is 320 million light years lower than previous calculations.
The ethical issues pulled the progress of genetic engineering so far, but a recent ordinance enabling gene editing on embryo will open a new meadow for the eradication of genetic diseases. Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (HFEA) [read HFE Act 2008 for more] had removed the restriction on gene editing for 1 ~ 7 days old embryo, which could improve the success of IVF by a greater percentage.
Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) will be that one change human technology would have dreamt for centuries. Coupled with protein CAS-9 this technology could eradicate all know bacterial and virus disease from the planet. That’s not all of it, genetic diseases and abnormalities will be a lost tale, with this new discovery by Chinese scientists. Recent studies tailing the CRISPR provided new On/Off switch to safeguard the practice. In the research phase scientists were able to successfully treat lung cancer using the CRISPR technology. More advanced studies are going on Cancer therapy and AIDS employing this technology.