24 Jan 15 scientific breakthroughs from 2015 that made our world a better place
2015 was a great year for science, many new discoveries about the universe we live in. From the deep floors of the oceans and microscopic discoveries to the up close and personal pictures of Pluto, we certainly learned a lot from 2015. With this knowledge, we’re pretty sure 2016 would be even a greater year with more discoveries, technological advancements, and such.
Here are just a few of the most amazing and world-changing breakthroughs you might remember reading about last year:
1. Pluto got its first close-up shot ever
Pluto has been a very mysterious part of our solar system — it was categorized as a planet and large meteorite for so many times. Scientists sent small probes to try to discover more about the mysterious planet.
Image Source: NASA Instagram
Last July, that little probe finally got close enough to snap some pics of Pluto’s surface. Since Pluto was discovered in 1930, scientists have proposed several flybys and exploration journeys to learn more about it. Now, those same scientists hope that New Horizons will be able to tell us a lot more about Pluto and our solar system’s history in the coming years.
2. Hairy-chested crab found at the very bottom of the Antarctic Ocean
Forget about outer space for a second — there are a lot of surprising and outer-space-like things on our home planet, too. For example, last year, scientists found a new species of hairy-chested crab.
This crab lives so far down in the Antarctic Ocean that it uses the heat given off by churning lava at the center of the Earth as its own space heater.
3. An 18-year-old figured out a way to help visually impaired people “see” with echolocation
Usually, human eyes take in light waves, sending that information to the brain and creating what we know as vision. But for people who are visually impaired, sound waves could be an alternative to light waves.
A Canadian teenager’s echolocation device was able to use sound waves to help those people see, which could change navigation for people who are blind. Pretty darn impressive, especially for a high schooler.
4. Rhinos now have their own security cameras
This year, conservationists began painlessly implanting cameras in the horns of rhinos.
Image Source: Protect
If a poacher is threatening a rhino, an alarm goes off and the camera turns on to tip off nearby rangers. Rhino poaching in South Africa alone has increased by 9,000% in the past seven years, so if we want rhinos in our future, this is a pretty important invention.
5. A person learns everything in kindergarten
That is, as long as you learned how to be kind, resolve problems, and share. A study wrapped up this year showed how much those early behaviors shape our lives years later. It also showed that if you weren’t the most cooperative kindergartener, it’s never too late to drop your bad habits.
6. 3D-printed bones can now help cure cancer
A man in Spain needed to have a tumor in his chest removed. Surgeons were able to take out the infected bone and replace it with customized, titanium, 3D-printed ribs and sternum.
Image Source: iStock/Anatomics
You can expect to see more 3D printing in medicine in the future — this could truly change how we make things and cure illnesses.
7. Vaccines are not linked to autism
An anti-vaccine group funded a study on the link between vaccines and autism. Guess what? The study found no such link.
8. Researchers confirmed the existence of a new subatomic particle: the pentaquark
In July 2015, a supercollider showed us the pentaquark — four quarks (which live inside protons) stuck to one antiquark.
Image Source: CERN
Even though they’ve discovered the pentaquark, scientists still have no idea what it actually does. Here’s to more research!
9. Chimpanzees are getting smarter
A report this year found that non-human primates are making crude tools — just like we were during the Stone Age. They haven’t exactly figured out how to make a wheel yet, but this report shows that chimp cultures are clearly more advanced than we previously thought.
10. A floating structure in the ocean will be used to clean up pollution
This awesome structure will collect trash in the ocean that harms fish and plant life. And that’s pretty important, since 8 million pieces of trash end up in the water each year.
Image Source: The Ocean Cleanup
11. A diver was able to communicate with a whale
Maybe that’s oversimplifying what happened. But a beluga whale did imitate human speech patterns after hanging out with human trainers. We already know that whales can communicate with each other — maybe someday soon, they’ll be able to communicate with us!
12. We figured out how to save newborns’ lives by keeping them warm at a cheap cost
When babies are born, they need to stay warm. Embrace infant warmers are being used instead of incubators to keep babies cozy, comfy, and healthy. So far, they’ve saved 150,000 babies!
13. App that helps autistic people communicate during panic attacks
With Emergency Chat, a person with autism who is having a meltdown can just show their phone to someone to communicate that they need help. And because the app’s creator has autism, he was able to craft it to best suit the needs of people using it.
14. A fifth-grader figured out how to make stuffed animals safe for the operating room
Pre-teen Gaby Zane figured out that simply washing stuffed animals eliminated most of the bacteria they carry. Previously, kids couldn’t take their stuffed animals into the O.R. because they were germy — but Gaby’s discovery means they can.
15. A chlorine-free pool that naturally eliminates bad bacteria
Image Source: Angela Doheny
The pool drains twice a day and gravel, limestone, and plants help filter it. No more burning eyes from chlorine. Isn’t that amazing?
What do you think of these amazing 2015 discoveries? Truly, science was able to open our eyes to our the world we live in. Share this post to your friends on Facebook!