Table of Contents
- 10. The Rosetta mission lands on a comet
- 9. The birth of birds
- 8. Using young blood to fight old age
- 7. Robots that cooperate
- 6. Chips that mimic the brain
- 5. The world’s oldest cave art
- 4. Cells that might cure diabetes
- 3. Manipulating memories
- 2. Rise of the CubeSat
- 1. Giving life a bigger genetic alphabet
Last year, the winner belonged to the discovery of the Higgs boson, cancer immunotherapy, and the first quantum machine. 2014 has also witnessed the breakthrough of scientific achievements. Toplisttips has listed out top 10 of them (in no order) which captured the world’s attention and reminded us of the immense scope of human scientific accomplishment. Let’s see how far we go this year:
10. The Rosetta mission lands on a comet
Europe’s most ambitious space mission captured the public’s imagination with a series of hard-won pictures, beamed to Earth from a place beyond Mars. Rosetta’s continuous orbit around comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is helping scientists figure out how life began on Earth—and heralds a new age of comet science.
9. The birth of birds
It took a lot to turn lumbering cousins of Tyrannosaurus rex into agile hummingbirds and graceful swans. This year, evolutionary biologists figured out the mode and tempo of the spectacular evolutionary transition from dinosaurs to birds.
8. Using young blood to fight old age
Researchers showed that a transfusion of young mouse blood can improve cognition and the health of several organs in older mice. If the same thing hold up in people, it is a good news that factors in young blood could help fight the aging process.
7. Robots that cooperate
Robots are getting better all the time at working with humans, but this year several teams demonstrated that these machines can also work together without our supervision, an important first step in their path to eventual world domination.
6. Chips that mimic the brain
In a development of “brain-like” supercomputers, IBM unveiled the world’s first “neuro-synaptic” computer chip, which mimics the human brain in its computing abilities. These brainlike chips could transform the way computers handle complex jobs, revolutionizing machine vision and environmental monitoring.
5. The world’s oldest cave art
Archaeologists may have discovered prehistoric graffiti revealing the Earth’s oldest cave art in Indonesia that’s at least 40,000 years old. The finding could rewrite the history of a key stage in the development of the human mind.
4. Cells that might cure diabetes
Researchers have reported a significant step toward finding a cure for diabetes. They’ve figured out how to turn human stem cells into functional pancreatic β cells—the same cells that are destroyed by the body’s own immune system in type 1 diabetes patients.
3. Manipulating memories
If you think you can rely on your memories, think again. Last year, scientists figured out how to manipulate specific memories in mice by zapping their brains with laser beams. This year, they managed to change the actual emotional content of memories, turning good memories bad, and vice versa.
2. Rise of the CubeSat
A decade ago, CubeSats were just educational tools. Now, a record-breaking number of these 10-centimeter boxes, built with off-the-shelf technology and costing hundreds of thousands of dollars rather than hundreds of millions, have been launched into space—and they’re starting to do real science.
1. Giving life a bigger genetic alphabet
All life on Earth as we know it encodes genetic information using four DNA letters: A, T, G, and C. Not anymore! Researchers have created new DNA bases in the lab, expanding life’s genetic code and opening the door to creating new kinds of microbes.