This year’s biggest scientific achievements

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

  • cubesats

  • 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

  • Q-car­bon

  • 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://​​​​soumith/​​dc­gan.torch).

from https://​​en.wikipe­​​wiki/​​2015

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.the­​​world/​​2015/​​oct/​​03/​​micropig-an­i­mal-rights-ge­net­ics-china-pets-outrage

psyc stud­ies can’t be re­pro­duced: http://​​www.thev­​​2015/​​8/​​27/​​9216565/​​psy­chol­ogy-stud­ies-re­pro­d­u­ca­bil­ity-issues

zoom con­tact lenses


room tem­per­a­ture syn­thetic diamonds


Notable deaths

terry pratch­ett passed away

mal­colm fraser

John Forbes Nash Jr

Oliver Sacks

Christo­pher lee

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”[116])


The dress

Ebola outbreak

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)

No­bel Prizes:
  • 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.