The Best Scientific Discoveries of 2017
2017 was no stranger to some absolutely incredible scientific discoveries. Incredible progress was made in many different fields, including astronomy, biology, and even particle physics. Some of the findings this year even made mainstream news, and its always cool to see that science has once again become cool. So lets go over what the amazing minds of planet Earth discovered this year.
Detecting the Collision of Neutron Stars
Astronomers have observed several times the powerful force of black holes slamming together, but in 2017, researchers detected two neutron stars slamming together. All sorts of observatories spotted this collision, recording it via x-rays, radio waves, gamma rays, and optical light. The absolute power of the collision was so forceful, these measurements were still recorded despite it happening over 130 million light years away. Through the analysis of this collision, scientists were able to determine that a large amount of the heavy metals like gold, platinum, and uranium originate from these events. In addition, scientists determined that the universe is expanding a much quicker rate than what was previously thought to be. From this single collision, it brought with it a large amount of insight into the mysteries of our universe.
A Baby Lamb was Incubated in an Artificial Womb
Inside of what looks like a large plastic bag that is strewn with a multitude of tubes, scientists were able to incubate several baby lambs as if they were still inside their mother. Over the course of four weeks, scientists were able to keep these lambs alive while they continued to develop. The artificial womb designed is a huge step towards keeping premature babies alive. In the future, this design could be used worldwide in hospitals, and could dramatically increase the survival rate of premature babies. Called the “biobag”, this pouch contains the same electrolyte solution found in the uterus, and has the necessary artificial circulatory system that allows for changing carbon dioxide into oxygen, in addition to circulating its blood.
The Discover of Potentially Habitable Planets
In February, astronomers discovered an entire solar system of Earth-sized exoplanets. All the exoplanets in this solar system orbit around a red dwarf called “TRAPPIST-1”. Several of the exoplanets that are orbiting this star reside in what is called the “goldilocks zone”, which is the zone in which all the aspects necessary for life are just right (hence the name). This discovery is one of the best findings in finding a new planet for that could potentially harbor life.
Quantum Computers made Quantum Leaps
The coolest named computers made some incredible leaps towards becoming more usable in major companies. Different from a regular computer, quantum computers are able to perform calculations exponentially faster. This opens the door for countless possibilities, including accurately simulating molecules, finding optimal supply chain routes, or even predicting what caused the Big Bang. The most advanced quantum computer is owned by IBM, and has broken previous quantum computing by over 100%. While they won’t be commercially viable for some time, they are becoming more advanced each year.