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Recent Scientific Breakthroughs and Whom We Owe Them To

There’s no denying just how important science is to the world...

By Owen MarshallPublished 2 years ago 4 min read

Science is fundamental to a thriving society, and it always has been. It’s the reason behind human growth and technological advancements and has been responsible for breakthroughs we couldn’t have survived without. These breakthroughs include shelters, antibiotics, and fire.

Science keeps the world spinning, and we should be grateful for all the scientists working day in and day out to discover more life-changing developments. Let’s explore some recent scientific breakthroughs and inventions, and whom we must thank for them.

Universal flu vaccine – National Institute of Health

Vaccines play a crucial part in keeping humanity alive, and there’s always more to research, discover, and explore. In the case of the National Institute of Health, they’ve been working hard to create a universal flu vaccine that will protect humans from all virus strains via one shot.

In a bad flu year, around 30,000 people in the UK die from flu and pneumonia, which is why there’s always a big drive to get people vaccinated each year. Roughly two weeks after vaccination, antibodies will develop in the body and protect against infection with circulating influenza viruses.

While this can be highly impactful, it’s not as effective as one shot that protects the human body from all variations of the flu: the universal flu vaccine. Work on this vaccine has been taking place since 2008, with various scientific companies researching and trialling different techniques to master the exact formula.

The National Institute of Health rolled out its phase 1 trial in July 2022, which involved testing the vaccine on one hundred humans. This is the furthest a medical research agency has taken the universal flu vaccine! Great work from everyone involved; we can’t wait to follow their journey over the next six months.

James Webb Space Telescope - NASA, the Canadian Space Agency and the European Space Agency

Move over, Hubble Space Telescope, there’s something even bigger and better currently unfolding! The James Webb Space Telescope launched in December 2021, making it now the largest optical telescope in space.

NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), the Canadian Space Agency, and the European Space Agency first began collaborative work on the telescope back in 1996. Due to the complexity of the unit, it required an astronomical level of research and development time to get it ready for launch.

Finally, on Christmas Day 2021, the telescope was launched and travelled nearly 1 million miles before arriving at the Sun-Earth L2 Lagrange point in January 2022. Although operations have barely started yet, this powerful telescope is already breaking records and performing fascinating observations.

Once fully underway, we’ll be able to see parts of the earth that we’ve never had the privilege of seeing before. So, there’s a chance we’ll finally be able to spot signs of life on other planets, as well as watch the birth of stars. In addition, it will give us the tools to search for indications of an atmosphere that could sustain life!

Octa-Gloves – Virginia Tech, Iowa State, and University of Nebraska-Lincoln

We’re ‘suckers’ for imaginative new pieces of tech, and Virginia Tech, Iowa State, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have done exactly that! In July 2022, it was revealed that the research universities had invented sticky underwater gloves inspired by the tentacles of an octopus. A biology degree involves the study of living things, from animals to human beings, so it’s exciting they were able to find a correlation here.

In a similar way to how an octopus can pick things up underwater whenever it chooses to, these clever scientists have produced gloves that can activate a light-pressure attachment to objects underwater. Essentially, this involves sticky pads that can switch on and off with the right kind of software controls.

This could be the start of something big! Currently, underwater industries are struggling to do the best possible job because it’s difficult to stick underwater. This includes archeologists, rescue divers, and welders. If we’re able to progress with the development of Octa-Gloves, we should soon achieve a device comprehensive enough to handle large, complex jobs underwater.

Hydrogen Planes – Aerospace Technology Institute

We all know that carbon emissions are a huge problem for our environment. In 2019, worldwide flights produced a staggering 915 million tonnes of CO2, so the aviation industry must find a better alternative to protect our planet. Lucky for us all, Aerospace Technology Institute is one step ahead with their new hydrogen planes.

The Aerospace Technology Institute is working with the UK government on ‘FlyZero’, a project that has received £15 million in funding to produce a plane powered completely by liquid hydrogen. This fuel is considered environmentally friendly because the burning of H2 (Hydrogen) does not produce carbon dioxide emissions.

The plane is expected to carry around 247 passengers halfway across the world without stopping once, and they hope to have the first generation of planes ready by 2035. If our scientists can nail this one, the possibilities for the travel industry will be monumental!

A huge ‘thank you’ to all scientists around the world

As a world, we owe a lot to the scientists who are continuously making remarkable discoveries to improve the way we live, communicate, and learn. There’s a reason why the subject has been around since at least 3000 to 1200 BCE, and there’s a reason why it’ll still be thriving in 3000 years to come.

On behalf of the entire human race and the planet, we’d like to thank all the scientists out there who are paving the way for a better life. Not just those who have made the incredible breakthroughs we’ve listed here, but every single scientist in the past, present, and future.


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