Despite the 2020 dumpster fire, here are 11 giant achievements we’ve made in science


There are just a few days left in this strange animal of the year, which will surely go to the bottom of the history books, we thought it would be nice to reflect on the amazing things distributed by scientists, In-spite of this.

Of course, it usually takes years to make scientific achievements. Nevertheless, here we have a round-up of some exciting science news reported in 2020. Just remember that it wasn’t all terrible.

1. We found the first known extraterrestrial protein in meteorites

Can life emerge elsewhere in the solar system? As curious and intelligent beings, humans are naturally interested in discovering whether living beings move beyond the confines of our small blue space rock. One way to find this is to turn to meteorites.

Earlier this year, scientists revealed that they had first found supernatural proteins, tucked inside a meteorite that fell to Earth 30 years ago.

“We are pretty sure that there is a possibility of proteins being present in space,” astronomer Chenoa Tremble told ScienceArt in March. “But if we can really start finding evidence of their existence, and what some structures and common structures might be, I think it’s really interesting and exciting.”

2. We avoided some disturbing changes to the environment

A new study showed that the famous Montreal Protocol – the 1987 agreement to stop the production of ozone-depleting substances – prevented, or even caused some disturbing changes in, air currents around the southern hemisphere of our planet That may be responsible for the reversal.

Heating the protective ozone layer around the Earth seems to have stopped the flow of air known as the southern jet stream, an event that pushed parts of Australia into a prolonged drought .

“If the ozone layer is recovering, and the circulation is moving north, this is good news on two fronts,” explained chemist Ian Rae from the University of Melbourne.

3. AI solved the 50-year-old biology challenge decades earlier than anyone expected

Earlier this month, scientists at the UK-based artificial intelligence company DeepMind announced that a new AI system had effectively solved a long and incredibly complex scientific problem related to the structure and behavior of proteins.

For nearly 50 years, researchers have attempted to predict how proteins achieve their three-dimensional structure. The astronomical number of possible configurations has made this task – known as the protein-folding problem – incredibly difficult.

The success of DeepMind means a huge step forward from research and efforts to research modeling and drug discovery, to applications far beyond health research.

4. Scientists used rapid radio burst to find the missing case of the Universe

In a mysterious tale of mystery within a mystery, a very clever application of rapid radio burst (FRB) tracing earlier this year answered a puzzling question to astronomers – just where is the missing case in the universe?

We are not talking about Dark Matter here, but based on all our calculations there should be a baryonic (normal) case, but have not yet been ascertained. The universe is vast, and the expansion between galaxies is huge. Yet it seems that in the empty space, the lone atom is still beating around.

While looking for a source of powerful interstellar signals known as FRBs, the researchers discovered that all of the missing ‘normal’ matter in the universe could be extremely diffuse gas. Oh, is that so.

5. We also confirmed the detection of FRB for the first time in our galaxy

This is right. On 28 April 2020, a Milky Way magnetar called SGR 1935 + 2154 flared up in a single, millisecond-long, so incredibly bright it could be detected from another galaxy.

This landmark detection had a major and immediate impact on the study of mysterious FRBs, which until now had only been detected from outside our galaxy, making their exact source difficult to pin down.

Caltech astronomer Srinivas Kulkarni said, “In most people’s minds, this sort of settles the origin of the FRB coming from the magneters.”

Astronomers had a time whale to follow up on this discovery, and by November we also confirmed that this intra-galactic FRB is an repeater. We can expect more excitement around next year, certainly.

6. SpaceX and NASA Make History with First Crew Launch

Space enthusiasts had plenty of reason to cheer this year, as various launches and space missions went on sale despite the global epidemic. On 30 May 2020, SpaceX became the first private space company to deliver astronauts to NASA at the International Space Station (ISS).

Not only did they bring them home safely several months later, another crew launch went off without a hitch in November, leading four astronauts to the space station – what with many regular missions in 2021 and beyond Will happen.

7. NASA touched an asteroid, and JAXA brought back a sample

After a long journey of more than 320 million kilometers (200 million miles), NASA’s OSIRIS-REX spacecraft touched down on the asteroid Bennu in October, collecting a sample of its surface debris, its efforts delivered by space-delivered spectacular footage Captured for poster. Agency. We can expect the investigation to return in 2023 with its precious cargo.

Last year, the Japanese space agency JAXA achieved a similar feat with the Hayabusa 2 probe, in which a sample was collected from the asteroid Ryugu. In December this year, we saw the safe return of that specimen, and have already been treated to the first glimpse of some black dust the team has received. We can’t wait to learn more about the discovery of these asteroid missions.

Ryugu dust on the chamber outside the recovery capsule. (JAXA)

8. Scientists found the first animal that does not require oxygen to survive

Back here in their world, biologists were in for a surprise when they found the first multicellular organism without the mitochondrial genome – meaning an organism that does not breathe. In fact, it remains at all without the need for oxygen.

While some single-celled organisms are known to thrive perfectly in anaerobic conditions, the fact is that the normal salmon parasite, a jellyfish-like creature Heneguia Salminisola, Oxygen is not required to survive, this is quite remarkable, and researchers have left many new questions to answer.

Salmincola at GrayscaleH. Salminicola Under the microscope. (Stephen Douglas Atkinson)

9. We got a great view of a “long hard stingy cheese” off the coast of Australia

Back in April, a trailing ribbon of joint tankable clones caused quite a stir among a group of biologists searching for a little-studied part of the sea off the coast of Western Australia. This strange unit was particularly long-lived Cyphonophore, a temporary string of thousands of individual zoos. In fact, it may be one of the longest strings ever seen.

“Everyone flew when it was sighted,” biologists Nerida Wilson and Lisa Kirkendley of the Western Australian Museum told ScienceArt.

“There was a lot of excitement. People entered the entire control room from the ship. Siphonophorus is commonly seen, but it was both large and unusual looking.”

10. A physicist came up with mathematics that makes ‘paradox-free’ time travel admirable

Wouldn’t it be time to pop into the time-machine and fix some of the accidents you have done in your past, all without accidentally killing your grandfather in the process?

Well, 2020 also became the year when we learned about a mathematically sound solution to time travel that doesn’t do everything. Physics student Jermaine Tobar of the University of Queensland in Australia worked on how to “square the numbers” to make time travel feasible without contradictions.

While this has not got us close to the time machine to work, its calculations suggest that space-time can potentially adapt itself to avoid contradictions. And, according to Tobar’s supervisor, mathematics checks. Fabulous.

11. The first COVID-19 vaccines are already being administered outside of clinical trials

The biggest challenge facing the world this year was the global COVID-19 epidemic. Healthcare professionals and essential workers have taken on too much of a burden to save society, and we can never thank them enough. Meanwhile, researchers in a myriad of relevant fields – from immunology to genetics – have also worked tirelessly throughout the year to better understand the coronovirus SARS-CoV-2.

This work will continue into the new year, but at the end of November we finally got our first taste of what it means to pursue scientific research and money at our own specific pace. The first vaccines designed to protect people from COVID-19 have already completed all the necessary stages of clinical trials, and are being rolled out in the UK, US and parts or Europe.

We will need to do a lot more before putting this devastating pandemic behind us and protecting the most vulnerable communities around the world, but already effective vaccination is a truly spectacular achievement, and the biggest celebration of science this year reason. To take us to 2021 full of hope.

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