Happy Thanksgiving! What are you thankful for this year?
While Thanksgiving has become all about the turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie, don’t forget to take a moment to be thankful for friends and family and… science? Being part of the scientific community, we can look at what new scientific developments have been accomplished this year that we can appreciate.
- Gene-editing has been quickly evolving, helping to generate more in-depth research and moving into clinical applications. Thanks to CRISPR, a gene linked to heart disease was successfully deleted from a human embryo. Also, the first ever gene-editing human trial was performed, using CRISPR inside the body to disable a tumor growth mechanism and remove human papillomavirus (HPV) by applying a gel that carries the necessary edited DNA.
- Metallic hydrogen was created for the first time ever using otherworldly pressure not experienced on earth. Liquid hydrogen was compressed by applying almost five million atmospheres of pressure to create the metal. In its metallic state, hydrogen can act as a superconductor and could also change the way we store energy or build rockets and other spacecraft.
- The discovery of a super-earth, the best candidate for extraterrestrial life so far, occurred earlier this year. Being about 40 light-years away from Earth, this new planet is the closest thing to a habitable planet ever found.
- Artificial intelligence is coming a long way this year, with improvements in navigating complex environments and accelerating data analyses. Google’s Deepmind has built neural networks that can learn similarly to humans, while IBM’s Watson for Genomics is turning genomic data analysis upside down by analyzing data more than 10 times faster than a human counterpart.
Considering these and many other great scientific advancements were developed this year alone, we can be grateful to live in a time when science and technology can evolve quickly, turning concepts into new realities. This Thanksgiving, stop for just a minute to consider the scientific side of things. Maybe you will come up with the next big science advancement over turkey dinner!