Dec 29, 2011

TOP 10 SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERIES AND DEVELOPMENTS OF 2011

2011 has come to an end. Many important developments were seen in the field of science.Here is a list of the most amazing and  important scientific discoveries and developments in 2011
1.Scientists discover complex organic matter exists throughout the universe
A spectrum from the Infrared Space Observatory superimposed on an image of the Orion Nebula where these complex organics are found. (Credit: Image courtesy of The University of Hong Kong / Background: Hubble image courtesy of NASA, C.R. O'Dell and S.K. Wong (Rice University))
 Complex organic compounds like coal and petroleum have been till now thought to arise only from living organisms.But a study led by researchers from Hong Kong University has revealed that this is not entirely true.Such organic compounds can be formed even in space with no life.The researchers were working on "Unidentified Infrared Emission features"- previously unsolved mysterious spectral signatures, when they made this amazing discovery.
They also concluded that not only are stars producing this complex organic matter, they are also ejecting it into the general interstellar space, the region between stars. The work supports an earlier idea that old stars are molecular factories capable of manufacturing organic compounds. 
 
2. One of the earliest formed minerals of the Solar System
The "Cracked Egg" grain, in which krotite was discovered, is contained in the NWA 1934 Meteorite. (Credit: Image by Chi Ma) sciencedaily.com
 Krotite is the newest mineral to be discovered.It is one of the earliest mineral to be formed in our solar system.Krotite is the main component of a refractory inclusion found embedded in a meteorite found in North west Africa.Krotite is mostly low pressure calcium aluminium oxide.

3.First Human Heart Cells that can be paced with light created
Oscar Abilez
 Oscar Abilez and his team amazed fellow bioengineers when they created human heart cells that can be paced with light for the first time.The new  development that could lead to an era of novel, light-based pacemakers and genetically matched tissue patches that replace muscle damaged by a heart attack, has further widened the application of a lesser known field of research called optogenetics.


4.World's First Anti-Laser built
In the anti-laser, incoming light waves are trapped in a cavity where they bounce back and forth until they are eventually absorbed. Their energy is dissipated as heat. (Credit: Yidong Chong/Yale University)
 Lasers were first invented in the 1960's.Since then they have revolutionized our lives. Now researchers in the Yale university have developed the world's first anti-laser called, coherent perfect absorbers(CPA). The developers of the CPAs believe that CPAs could one day be used as optical switches, detectors and other components in the optical computers, which will be powered by light in addition to electrons.The CPAs might also find application in radiology.

5.Hydrogen Peroxide discovered in space

An international team of astronomers working with the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment telescope (APEX), situated on the 5000-metre-high Chajnantor plateau in the Chilean And discovered molecules of hydrogen peroxide in interstellar space for the first time.Astronomers hope that the new discovery would help in enhancing our understanding the formation of water in universe.

6.First Earth Trojan

An artist's conception of the trojan .credit NASA
 NASA's WISE observatory discovered Earth's first trojan this year.
Trojans are asteroids that share an orbit with a planet near stable points in front of or behind the planet.Scientists had long ago predicted that Earth also has a trojan similar to planets like Mars,Jupiter etc.The discovery underlined the importance and utility of the NEOWISE MISSION.

7.New Class of Anti-Malarial Drugs
scientists have discovered a family of chemical compounds that could lead to a new generation of antimalarial drugs capable of not only alleviating symptoms but also preventing the deadly disease. (Credit: © demarfa / Fotolia)
 An international team led by scientists from the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation (GNF) and The Scripps Research Institute discovered a family of chemical compounds that could lead to a new generation of antimalarial drugs capable of not only alleviating symptoms but also preventing the deadly disease.Unlike most of the present day anti-malarial drugs,the new class of compounds identified by the team is highly effective against the parasite in both the blood and the liver.

8.Biologists discover genes that repair nerves after injury
Regrowing axons 12 hours (top) and 24 hours (bottom) after injury. (Credit: Lizhen Chen, UC San Diego)
After working for two years,analyzing 654 genes, scientists at the University of California,San Diego finally discovered the 76 genes that are responsible for regenerating nerves after injury.The discovery will provide vital clues to biomedical researchers developing new therapies to treat spinal cord injuries and nerve damages.Terming the discovery as 'the most exciting', scientists are now hoping to determine which of these genes is the most critical.

9. Scientists Achieve Optical Invisibility in Visible Light Range of Spectrum

Electron micrograph of an invisibility cloak structure. The polymer-air metamaterial (“logs”) is colored blue, the gold-coated areas are colored yellow. (Credit: CFN)
Having a diameter smaller than the human hair,the tiny invisibility cloak has been to work in the visible range of electromagnetic radiation.
A report by the Karlsruhe Institute of technology  quotes one of the lead researchers-
The invisibility cloak now developed is an attractive object demonstrating the fantastic possibilities of the rather new field of transformation optics and metamaterials. The design options that opened up during the last years had not been deemed possible before," emphasizes Ergin. "We expect dramatic improvements of light-based technologies, such as lenses, solar cells, microscopes, objectives, chip production, and data communication."

10.World's most powerful  optical microscope developed
Scientists have created a microscope which shatters the record for the smallest object the eye can see, beating the diffraction limit of light. (Credit: Image courtesy of University of Manchester)
 
A microscope that has shattered the records for the smallest object that eye can see ,was developed this year.
 From a report by the University of Machester-
Previously, the standard optical microscope could only see items around one micrometer -- 0.001 millimeters -- clearly.
But now, by combining an optical microscope with a transparent microsphere, dubbed the 'microsphere nanoscope', the Manchester researchers can see 20 times smaller -- 50 nanometers ((5 x 10-8m) -- under normal light. This is beyond the theoretical limit of optical microscopy.This greatly-increased capacity means the scientists, led by Professor Lin Li and Dr Zengbo Wang, could potentially examine the inside of human cells, and examine live viruses in great detail for the first time.

reference: www.sciencedaily.com)

2 comments:

  1. wow, science really improve every year...i am waiting for more discoveries this year.

    ReplyDelete