For our solstice event I tried to put together a list of this year’s biggest scientific achievements. They can likely all be looked up with a bit of searching and each one is worthy of a celebration in their own right. But mostly I want to say; we have come a long way this year. And we have a long way to go.
I tried to include science and technology in this list, but really anything world-scale (non-politics or natural disaster) is worthy of celebrating.
- Rosetta mission lands on a comet
- using young blood to fight old age (rats)
- kinghorn human sequencing machines (Sydney relevant)
- 100,000 genomes project
- the world's oldest cave art @ 40,000 years old
- tesla battery//released their patents on their electric engines for use by anyone.
- Virtual reality (cardboard)
- Astronauts growing their own food
- Self driving cars
- Lab grown kidneys successfully implanted into animals
- synthetic DNA
- Chicken with a reptile face
- nearly an altzeimers cure (ultrasound techniques)
- DAWN orbits Ceres
- Deepdreaming machine learning (and twitch-deepdream)
- Prosthetic limbs that transmit feeling back to the user
- Autonomous rocket landing pointy end up
- Lightsail project
- Ion space travel engine
- Anti - aging virus injected into the patient 0
- Super black substance made
- High temperature superconductor (-70c)
- 23&me were allowed to open back up
- Enchroma colourblindness adjusting glasses
- Google releases "Tensor Flow" which whilst its not very good at the moment has the potential to centralize the Deep Learning libraries.
- CRISPR's ability to change the germ line.
- Deep Dreaming, but also image generation. Faces generated, bedrooms generated and even a toilet in a field. Its clear that within the next few years you will have pictures entirely generated by Neural Nets. (Code: https://github.com/soumith/dcgan.torch).
- On the NLP side of deep learning this post, which whilst not using new techniques, sparked a lot of generative work (http://karpathy.github.io/2015/05/21/rnn-effectiveness/). There has also been really interesting work on Question Answering (http://arxiv.org/abs/1506.02075)
- Quasipolynomial time algorithm for graph isomorphism (http://jeremykun.com/2015/11/12/a-quasipolynomial-time-algorithm-for-graph-isomorphism-the-details/)
April 29 – The World Health Organization (WHO) declares that rubella has been eradicated from the Americas.
July 14 - NASA's New Horizons spacecraft performs a close flyby of Pluto, becoming the first spacecraft in history to visit the distant world.
September 10 – Scientists announce the discovery of Homo naledi, a previously unknown species of early human in South Africa.
September 28 – NASA announces that liquid water has been found on Mars.
Recommendations from the slack:
china makes a genetically modified micropig and sells it: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/03/micropig-animal-rights-genetics-china-pets-outrage
psyc studies can’t be reproduced: http://www.theverge.com/2015/8/27/9216565/psychology-studies-reproducability-issues
zoom contact lenses
room temperature synthetic diamonds
terry pratchett passed away
John Forbes Nash Jr
Nobel medals this year
Chemistry – Paul L. Modrich; Aziz Sancar and Tomas Lindahl ("for mechanistic studies of DNA repair")
Economics – Angus Deaton ("for his analysis of consumption, poverty, and welfare")
Literature – Svetlana Alexievich ("for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time" )
Peace – Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet ("for its decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution of 2011")
Physics – Takaaki Kajita and Arthur B. McDonald ("for the discovery of neutrino oscillations, which shows that neutrinos have mass")
Physiology or Medicine – William C Campbell, Satoshi Ōmura ("for their discoveries concerning a novel therapy against infections caused by roundworm parasites") and Tu Youyou ("for her discoveries concerning a novel therapy against Malaria")
Polio came back
(also this year) - upcoming spaceX return flight on the 19th dec
runner up: vat meat is almost ready.
runner up: soylent got a lot better this year
runner up: quantum computing having progressive developments but nothing specific
Things that happened 100 years ago (from wikipedia):
- March 19 – Pluto is photographed for the first time
- September 11 – The Pennsylvania Railroad begins electrified commuter rail service between Paoli and Philadelphia, using overhead AC trolley wires for power. This type of system is later used in long-distance passenger trains between New York City, Washington, D.C., and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
- November 25 – Einstein's theory of general relativity is formulated.
- Alfred Wegener publishes his theory of Pangaea.
- Thomas Huckle Weller, American virologist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (d. 2008)
- Charles Townes, American physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2015)
- August 27 – Norman F. Ramsey, American physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2011)
- Clifford Shull, American physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2001)
- November 19 – Earl Wilbur Sutherland Jr., American physiologist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1974)
- Henry Taube, Canadian-born chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2005)
- Paul Ehrlich, German scientist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (b. 1854)
- December 19 – Alois Alzheimer, German psychiatrist and neuropathologist (b. 1864)
- Chemistry – Richard Willstätter
- Literature – Romain Rolland
- Medicine – not awarded
- Peace – not awarded
- Physics – William Henry Bragg and William Lawrence Bragg
Meta - This list was compiled for Sydney’s Solstice event; I figured I would share this because it’s pretty neat.
Time to compose: 3-4hrs
With comments from the IRC and slack
To see more of my posts visit my Table of contents
As usual; any suggestions welcome below.