A Look Back at Science & Innovation in 2019
We have just flipped over the calendar to a brand new year. 2020, a year many of us have looked at as the far-flung future is now upon us.
As we anticipate the fruition of our fantasy sci-fi future, I would like to invite you to join me on a marvellous and wondrous journey to look back at some of the most stellar scientific discoveries and innovations of 2019 that will help shape this fantastic future.
Before the engines on this time machine go full throttle, be warned that you best buckle up as this is going to be one exciting ride! Over the course of this write-up you will be catapulted far back in time to the very start of our species and thrust far into the future to where our species may well end up one day.
Discovering the Past
For the first stop on our journey through science in 2019, we will have to roll back the hands of time as far back as it goes – all the way to the very beginning of modern man. In 2019, a collection of scientist from across the globe put their minds together to conduct some thorough detective work on human history through genetic analysis of DNA.
Photo credits: itv.com What they discovered was the very beginning of us. Their research indicated that every living person today could trace their lineage back to a woman who lived in an area of modern-day Botswana about 200,000 years ago. And just when we thought we had learned all there was to learn about our ancestors, science burst through the door yet again to shine fascinating new light on our past. Leading minds in Europe this year broke new ground in discovering our past when they unearthed a previously wholly unknown species of Homo through AI scans of sequenced genomes. Saving the Present With that blast from the past, now lets head back to the future – and by future I mean present day. Science is not only shedding new light on our past but has done an equally important job in helping sustain us in the present. Gene combination and mutation can be a fickle master, when it goes right, we end up tall dark and handsome but any slight variation and we could be faced with life-threatening complications. This is the case for the 1 in 50,000 of us that are affected by the X-linked severe combined immunodeficiency (XSCID). The deficiency distorts disease-fighting immune cells to leave them severely vulnerable to infections. However, this year researchers at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in America successfully employed experimental gene therapy to cure a baby with XSCID, paving the way for a future without the incredibly debilitating disease. But science did not stop at curing just one health problem, in 2019 our greatest minds pushed further than before to innovate medicine and treatment to give us all a healthier future. Thanks to new breakthrough in science at the molecular and nano level in 2019, we are all now one-step close to living out our dream as Deadpool or Wolverine. Sure it still isn’t self-healing quite yet but in 2019 our scientist have made leaps and bounds in 3D human tissue and organ printing using hydrogel that will make the process quicker, cheaper and more effective. Securing the Future Now lets strap some rockets on to this time machine and hit warp-speed to travel into the far future to discover how science discoveries and inventions in 2019 will help secure the very future of our species.
As it becomes more and more inevitable that our planet has an expiry date, 2019 saw our scientist focus more than ever before on finding a future home for all of us. And we may have just found our best bet yet. The planet, named K2-18b, is a super-Earth that orbits a red dwarf star 110 light-years away. This far away rock is the only known planet outside our solar system with water, an atmosphere, and a temperature range that could support liquid water on its surface making it our best chance at a hospitable planet for humans. But 110 light-years is quite an unfathomable distance, how could we possible travel that far? Well engineers have even thought of that! 2019 saw the Planetary Society launch the LightSail 2 satellite in to orbit – where it unfurled a 344 square-foot solar sail. The sail captures and reflects light particles harnessing the virtually unlimited power of the sun and converting the energy into momentum to propel the spacecraft ever forward. A Nano-Second for Nanotechnology There you have it, a whirlwind journey across the key discoveries of 2019 that have shed light on our past, breathe new life into our present and provided a beacon of hope for our future. Before we step off this time machine, we would be remised if we did not let you in on a little secret. Many of these incredible discoveries and innovations simply could not have been possible without nanotechnology. Working at the previously untapped nano-scale has empowered scientist and engineers to manipulate objects and materials in ways previously thought impossible. Nanotechnology has helped make things stronger, more flexible, more durable, lighter, more accurate and the list goes on and on. This is why nanotechnology has been at the heart of several other incredible innovations in recent years that have impacted virtually every aspect of our lives. Nanotechnology has impacted the food we consume, helping locking in nutrients and minerals and blocking out infectious diseases making our food healthier and last longer. It has also helped us stay fresh and clean adding cleansing and anti-odour properties to our clothing. As our scientist continue to innovate, nanotechnology is set to play an increasingly important role. By 2025 nanotechnology is set to represent a market share of over USD125 billion with nanotechnology being incorporated into millions of household products and industrial equipment. As 2019 comes to an end, it is high-time we collectively jump on board the nanotechnology bandwagon to drive the growth of this industry which will in turn drive the future of human society. Be a part of Malaysia’s rapidly expanding nanotechnology sector by partnering with the nation’s first and only nanotechnology verification programme – NanoVerify. NanoVerify is a unique body that is tasked with building the nanotechnology industry in Malaysia by recognising genuine use of nanotechnology and thereby building consumer trust.
If you have a product or service that employs nanotechnology, give your business the upper hand by getting it NanoVerified today. This will help your product stand out in an increasingly crowded and competitive market place whilst directly indicating to consumers that your product can be trusted. For further insights on the nano-industry, latest news on verified products in Malaysia and other nano-developments visit https://www.nanoverify.com.my/, follow us on www.facebook.com/NANOVerify and www.instagram.com/nanoverify/