For centuries, scientists, thinkers, and dreamers have used their imaginations to better understand the world around them, coming up with revolutionary theories and building incredible tools that have allowed us to reach previously unimaginable heights of achievement. Nowhere has this been more true than in the 21st century, which has already seen countless scientific achievements that would have seemed impossible only decades ago. Here are ten of the greatest scientific discoveries and inventions of the 21st century so far…
1) CERN Detects the Higgs Boson
On July 4th, 2012, scientists at CERN announced that they had finally detected the Higgs boson, a particle that had been predicted to exist nearly 50 years earlier. The discovery was made possible by the Large Hadron Collider, which is the most powerful particle accelerator in the world.
2) First Ancient Human Genome Sequenced
In 2007, the first complete sequence of a human genome was published. The sequencing of the genome was a remarkable achievement that gave scientists a new tool to study human evolution.
The discovery that Earth is not the only planet with life
3) A Vaccine and New Treatments to Fight Ebola
The Ebola virus was first discovered in 1976, and since then, it has caused sporadic outbreaks of disease. The most recent outbreak began in 2013, and by 2014, it had spread to several countries in West Africa. This outbreak was the largest and most deadly Ebola outbreak in history.
4) Redefining the Fundamental Unit of Mass
In 2012, scientists at CERN announced they had discovered a new particle that they dubbed the God particle. This discovery was monumental because it helped to explain how everything in the universe is held together. The God particle is responsible for giving mass to all other particles, which means it is essential to our understanding of how the universe works.
5) Fossilized Pigments Reveal the Colors of Dinosaurs
For the first time, scientists have been able to reconstruct the colors of dinosaurs using fossilized pigments. The discovery was made possible by high-powered microscopes that can detect color at a nano scale. The findings suggest that some dinosaurs were brightly colored, which may have been used for camouflage or communication.
6) Space-Based Solar Power Satellite
One of the more ambitious projects on this list, the Space-Based Solar Power Satellite is a satellite that would collect solar energy in space and then beam it back to Earth. The project is still in its early stages, but it has the potential to provide an infinite amount of clean energy.
7) Mysteries of Other Worlds Revealed
For centuries, humans have gazed at the stars, dreaming of what might be out there. In the past two decades, we’ve finally started to get some answers, thanks to a number of groundbreaking discoveries and inventions.
8) Discovery of Gravitational Waves
On September 14th, 2015, scientists made a historic announcement- they had detected gravitational waves. These waves are ripples in space-time that are caused by massive events, like the collision of black holes. This discovery was made using the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), which consists of two detectors located in Hanford, Washington and Livingston, Louisiana. The detection of gravitational waves is a big deal because it confirms a major prediction of Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity.
9) Editing Genes
CRISPR is a gene-editing tool that has been used to edit everything from plants to animals to humans. It has the potential to cure diseases, improve crops, and even create designer babies. A Chinese scientist became the first person in history to use it on himself. And while many scientists are using it for noble purposes, others fear the technology could be abused with no way to control it.
10) Taking Measure of the Cosmos
One of the great scientific discoveries of the 21st century was made in 2003, when astronomers found that the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate. This discovery has profound implications for our understanding of the cosmos. In addition to providing evidence for the existence of dark energy, it also suggests that the universe will eventually end in a big freeze.