The Most Interesting Scientific Discoveries of 2022
As the domain of science continues to flourish, so does our understanding of the world we live in. Stretching across the fields of technology, biology, and mathematics to the environment and psychology, here are some of the most prolific scientific discoveries of 2022.
Ice Age-era footprints found in Utah
Scientists on an Air Force base in Utah discovered 88 footprints belonging to humans dating back 12,000 years ago in a shallow river-bed. The age of the footprints helps in proving that humans occupied North America much earlier than previously believed.
NASA is able to detour asteroids from hitting the Earth
The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) conducted by NASA successfully altered an asteroid's orbit away from Earth. This is the first time ever humans have changed the trajectory of a celestial object.
Billions of Snow Crabs have disappeared off the coast of Alaska
The Snow Crab population fell from 8 billion crabs in 2018 to just over 1 billion crabs in 2021 according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The main cause of the disappearance is cited to be overfishing, however climate change and unintentional capture is also at fault for the rapid decline.
Mercury’s surface may be covered in diamonds
Computer simulations conducted by the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference have predicted that around a third of the planet Mercury's crust contains diamonds. The high concentration of diamond is believed to be caused by billions of years of meteorite impacts, which creates intense pressure and temperature.
The first lab-grown blood transplant
Small amounts of lab-grown blood have been transplanted into humans to observe how it reacts inside the body. The goal of the project is to be able to recreate rare blood-types as well as create more access to blood for those who rely on regular blood transfusions.
Never before seen images of the early universe
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope launched on Christmas Day in 2021 and immediately expanded our view of the universe. This year, the telescope produced more detailed pictures of two objects 97% of the way back into the Big Bang. It is still up for debate whether the objects are galaxies or stars.
A math breakthrough could be the key to explaining the mysteries of the universe
Researchers discovered a way that is more concise than ever to explain the emergence of gravity using mathematics. The discovery is likely believed to be a gateway to combining Einstein's theory of gravity and the field of quantum mechanics, which is the key to understanding phenomena like dark matter and black holes.
Artificial intelligence can predict human response to new drugs
The use of artificial intelligence in human drug response will transform drug discovery while cutting costs and time. The technology will not be used until it becomes more reliable, but researchers hope once this is accomplished the technology can also be used to predict potential side effects to drugs.
Metabolites that can convert “bad” fat into “good fat”
Metabolites are the products of the metabolic process, most widely known during the energy conversion process of digestion. Researchers recently found a metabolite that is capable of converting white fat cells (bad) into brown fat cells (good). This discovery is key to treating conditions including obesity, cardio-vascular disease, and type 2 diabetes.
In order to process words, our brains time-stamp the words we hear
Psychologists and linguistics researchers have discovered how our brains are able to effectively process speech. As words enter our ears, the brain “time-stamps” how long ago the sound entered our ear. This allows the brain to understand the order words are being said and interpret what is being heard.
“Realness” is a psychological trait
“Realness”, as defined by researchers, is the tendency to act with one's feelings regardless of the consequence. A new study shows that “keeping it real” is a sign of healthy psychological development. The trait is linked to authenticity, likeability, as well as agreeableness.
China's artificial sun breaks record for longest sustained nuclear fusion
The nuclear fusion project burned at a temperature almost five times hotter than the sun for over 17 minutes. The project replicates the sun's physics and is cleaner than any other energy source available at the moment.
Artificial intelligence reveals structures of over 600 million proteins
Researchers at Meta utilized artificial intelligence to find the structures of the least understood proteins on earth. This breakthrough will help to cure disease, produce energy, and clean the environment once scientists utilize the structures.
Microscopic worms can smell cancer
Nematodes, which are between 0.1-2.5 mms long and between 5 to 100 µm thick, are being trained to detect lung-cancer. The microscopic worms are attracted to the urine of those with lung-cancer. The worms can already detect cancer with 70% accuracy and are now being trained to detect cancer at a higher rate.