Top 10 Most Important Scientific Achievements of 2023
• 2022 has been a difficult year for ordinary people, but a good year for science. NASA's James Webb Space Telescope has taken new infrared images of the universe and provided the first evidence of carbon dioxide outside the solar system. The coronavirus pandemic has spurred the innovative development of a nasal vaccine, and the FDA has approved lab-grown meat.
• I present to you a list of 10 major scientific achievements and discoveries that occurred in 2022.
10. Robot Ameca (Ameka) debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show 2022
• Last January, the British company Engineered Arts unveiled a robot with a humanoid appearance: with teeth, a gender-neutral body and "eerily realistic facial expressions"
• Ameca is controlled by a highly modular and trainable Tritium system, can answer questions and participate in conversation. Engineered Arts hopes this is just the first of a line of humanoid robots the company plans to produce.
9. Study of fungal communication
• New research has shown that various mushrooms, such as the common chamois and enoki, can "talk" to each other by sending electrical impulses through a web of underground mycelium, similar to the nervous system of the human body.
• Mushrooms have been found to use up to 50 "words" very similar to human language, but researchers are not yet ready to directly link their communication to human speech. It is assumed that fungi communicate information about injuries and food sources to each other.
8. Revitalize the organs of dead pigs
• One of the most amazing science experiments of 2023 was carried out by scientists at Yale University. They used OrganEx, a perfusion device that pumped blood and bodily fluids into the body's circulatory system, to breathe new life into the organs of large animals—pigs that died an hour ago.
• Every single major organ responded to this and even showed signs of cellular recovery. This technology can be an important step towards the development of innovative methods of human organ transplantation.
7. Complete human genome sequence obtained
• Building on the foundations laid by the Human Genome Project, which sequenced 92% of the human genome, the National Human Genome Research Institute has successfully "deciphered" the last 8%.
• This was possible thanks to a new method of reading the genetic text. With its help, it became possible to read very long sequences of nucleotides located in the DNA chain.
• The complete sequence of the human genome is now available for study, giving geneticists special insight into how cells function and how DNA varies from person to person.
6 Lab-grown brain cells learned how to play ping-pong
• "Mini-brains" – brain cells grown in Melbourne's Cortical Labs in petri dishes – have learned to play the classic video game Pong. This was the first case of successful interaction of biological neurons embedded in a specialized microchip with an external object.
• While this achievement is a milestone, there is debate about whether cells can be classified as sentient or not. One of the boldest scientific breakthroughs of 2023 could lead to cutting-edge ways to study neurological diseases like Alzheimer's.
5. Moving towards a universal influenza vaccine
The top 5 most important scientific achievements of 2023 are led by the success in developing a universal influenza vaccine. For decades, this vaccine eluded scientists, largely due to the ability of the virus to mutate and overcome previously developed immunity. However, by manipulating the lower hemagglutinin portion of the influenza virus, which is less variable than other parts of the virus, researchers have developed antibodies that are resistant to multiple flu strains at the same time.
4. A new milestone in nuclear fusion technology
• In 2022, scientists from the Livermore National Laboratory. E. Lawrence created the first controlled thermonuclear reaction, which led to ignition. That is, as a result of the reaction, more energy was received than was invested.
• This fusion reaction is considered “clean,” meaning it creates a large amount of energy without the emissions associated with fossil fuels. One of the best scientific discoveries of 2023 could pave the way for a new way to provide people with energy without degrading the Earth's atmosphere.
3 Human Brain Cells Successfully Implanted In Rats
Historically, it has been very difficult to study neurological dysfunctions in humans because living brain neurons cannot be fully replicated in petri dishes.
• However, in 2022, scientists grew human brain cells and transplanted them into rats. They successfully grew, occupying one third of the total area of the rat brain, and functioned normally. This exciting scientific discovery represents a promising opportunity to study understudied disorders such as schizophrenia and autism.
2. The world's first synthetic embryo
• Another scientific breakthrough in 2023 was the world's first "synthetic" mouse embryos created from stem cells without the need for an egg, sperm or uterus.
• Just a few weeks after this monumental achievement, the researchers went even further, creating a "synthetic" embryo with a beating heart, a brain, and the potential to develop the rest of the body's organs. Both studies represent a huge step forward in fertility research and theoretically allow the development of synthetic human organs for transplantation.
1. Dart probe destroyed a 160-meter asteroid
• Asteroids have fallen to Earth many times, and one of them 66 million years ago even led to climate change and the extinction of dinosaurs. Can anything be done to save humanity from this existential extraterrestrial threat? Fortunately, yes.
• On September 27, 2023, a 550-kilogram Dart (Double Asteroid Re-Direction Test) umbrella released by NASA deliberately collided with the small asteroid Dimorphos at a speed of almost 22 thousand kilometers per hour. The latter was deflected from its orbit, which means that earthlings will have enough time to change the trajectory of the asteroid if it moves on a collision course with the Earth.