The mysteries of the cosmos, engulfing every aspect of it, are subject to gradual discovery and science aids such discovery. Some new scientific discoveries of 2012 are being discussed in the following article to throw light on the scientific and technological advancements and to unravel various scientific mysteries that have baffled mankind till the year 2012!
Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science. ~ Edwin Powell Hubble
Records of new scientific inventions and discoveries can be found dating back to, as far back as the period referred to as, B.C. (before Christ, referred so to mark the years that preceded the coming of Christ) – precisely, since the time man’s presence on the face of earth was chronicled! Don’t believe me? Well, the very first recorded scientific discovery in the B.C. era, 17th century B.C. to be precise, is regarded to be the Venus Tablet of Ammisaduqa (Enuma Anu Enlil Tablet 63) which displays the first records of following and observing the journey of the planet Venus across the sky for astronomical purposes!
Facts about famous scientists and their discoveries have always fascinated whoever hungered for intellectual enlightenment and displayed a penchant for updates on the progress made by humanity. Well, I hope that has roused your interest considerably, so that we can proceed towards discussing some of the most significant new scientific discoveries of 2012!
Significant Scientific Discoveries Of the Year
Discussed below are some new scientific discoveries which have taken place this year. All these discoveries bear significant importance in terms of scientific knowledge and breakthrough, as they came across in the form of answers to many nagging questions pertaining to science, and filled knowledge gaps pertaining to many scientific fields.
Read Your Thoughts(?)
Humanity has always been fascinated with the so-called psychic abilities, claimed by various individuals in various eras, that enable one to read the thoughts of others. Well, given the pace of scientific progress, it was kind of expected that someday, technology will touch thoughts the way psychics do! In January, 2012, a group of American scientists came up with an ingenious theory of decoding thoughts by tracking the electric activity that takes place in the area of the brain that is known as superior temporal gyrus. Apparently, this is the cerebral location where language is processed by converting words into complex electrical waves and impulses that follow specific patterns.
Research is underway to develop a device that, when implanted in the brain, would act as sensors that pick up those linguistic impulses and patterns and, then, translate them into language or symbols that humans can easily read and interpret. If this technology sees the light of the day, a lot of patients suffering from various cerebral conditions that affect their linguistic and expressive abilities would come to benefit.
Decoding the Denisovan DNA
A previously unknown species of humans, Denisova homininsare believed to have shared the Paleolithic era with Neanderthals and archaic Homo sapiens. Mitochondrial DNA collected from fossils found in a remote cave in Siberia, in 2010, suggested that the Denisovans genetically varied from the modern humans, as well as the Neanderthals, to a great extent. In February this year, the entire genome of the Denisova hominins was completely decoded and it has been suggested that Denisovans may have interbred with the Neanderthals as well as the archaic Homo sapiens, suggesting a strong possibility of Denisovans being among the direct ancestors of modern-day humans (maybe just a few races, if not all humanity).
Acne Antibiotic for Schizophrenia(!?)
Minoclycline is an inexpensive antibiotic of the tetracyclinegroup that is very effective and popular as an anti-acne medication. However, an accidental discovery in Japan suggested that Minocycline could be effective in alleviating various symptoms of schizophrenia. The claim does make sense in a certain way. A lot of mental illnesses, including depression and schizophrenia, are a result of inflammation in the brain – this is what is believed by a significant chunk of the scientific community.
Now, Minocycline is known to have neurorestorative and neuroprotective properties, besides being an effective anti-inflammatory agent. These properties mean that this cheap acne medication could pave the way for affordable and accessible treatment options for quite a few mental and psychological conditions that are brought about by inflammation in the brain.
Evolution and Resultant Genetic Alterations
Codenamed Dark Fly, an experiment was conducted by isolating 1400 generations of a particular line of the common fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) and keeping them in complete darkness for 57 years straight, to observe whether the concept of evolution is valid and, if so, what course would it take in about a thousand generations down the line. Besides various genetic changes and mutations, higher fertility and larger number of offsprings in each subsequent generation was one of the most prominent changes that was noticed, which is being attributed to generations of the fruit fly line being deprived of any form of illumination! The results of this experiment were published on 14th March, 2012, by the Emory University School of Medicine, U.S.
The “Jekyll-Hyde” Particle
A particle which is its own antiparticle – that’s nothing short of rewriting R.L. Stevenson’s sci-fi masterpiece, albeit, in a laboratory of particle physics! The Majorana fermion happens to be its own antiparticle and its existence had been theorized way back in 1937 by Ettore Majorana, an Italian theoretical physicist, who is best known for his works on neutrino masses. In April, 2012, a team of Dutch scientists have submitted a report stating that they have actually found evidence of the possibility of Majorana fermion’s existence!
Those were some of the most interesting scientific discoveries of this year till now! Since a good part of the year still remains, we can, and should, expect many more exciting and path-breaking scientific discoveries, chiefly, in the fields of physics, genetics, medicine and information technology. On a concluding note, I would like to quote one of the greatest and most famous scientists of all time:-
The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking.
~ Albert Einstein