We’ve rounded up some of the most interesting discoveries in modern science. These advances in biology, geology, engineering and other fields have opened up new possibilities for human health, technology and the environment.
A team of researchers injected human brain cells into lab rats and found they formed connections that guide the animals’ behavior. The discovery could help scientists learn more about schizophrenia and other neurological disorders.
1. The discovery of the structure of DNA
Deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, is the genetic code for human beings and all other living organisms. It is stored in the chromosomes that are in each cell of our bodies.
DNA consists of chains of molecules called nucleotides, each containing a nitrogen base, a sugar molecule and a phosphate group. DNA has four possible nitrogen bases: adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C) and thymine (T).
Nucleotides are linked together in long chains to form a structure known as a double helix. This helix looks like a twisting ladder, with the base pairs forming the rungs and the sugar and phosphate groups forming the vertical sidepieces.
2. The discovery of the structure of the atom
A tiny, relatively massive nucleus of protons and neutrons surrounded by a cloud of electrons makes up the structure of an atom. This smallest unit of matter is responsible for many important properties of a chemical element, such as its valency and atomic number.
But until the 19th century, atoms weren’t completely understood. This was mainly because scientists were unable to see them with their naked eyes.
In the late 19th century, chemist Sir Joseph John Thomson put forward a model of the atom. It showed that atoms consisted of small negatively charged electrons embedded in a low-density, positively charged sphere.
3. The discovery of the structure of the sun
The sun is a gaseous object that was born from a molecular cloud of hydrogen and helium about 4.5 billion years ago. Eventually, this mass of atoms began to rotate and heat up.
The innermost layer of the sun is called the core, which is a hot, plasma (a state of matter that is similar to gas but has most of its particles ionized). Inside this furnace, nuclear reactions combine protons of hydrogen atoms to form helium atoms.
The radiation from this core is transported slowly throughout the solar interior, like water bubbling up from a boiling pot. Once it gets to the photosphere, which is the visible portion of the sun, the energy begins to radiate outward through a zone called the chromosphere.
4. The discovery of the structure of the moon
Throughout the history of mankind, the moon has been a source of wonder and curiosity. From the times of Aristarchus and Galileo to the present day, the moon has inspired a constant flow of research and discoveries that continue to fascinate scientists today.
Until recently, we didn’t know much about the structure of the Moon. But now, a team of scientists from CNRS, Universite Cote d’Azur and the Paris Observatory-PSL has discovered that it has a solid core like ours.
In addition, the team has also found that the Moon has a concentration of iron-rich materials in its crust that can be traced back to a huge impact event that occurred around 4 billion years ago. The impact left behind a hot ocean of magma that melted the Moon’s oldest rocks and fueled volcanoes.
5. The discovery of the structure of the earth
The inner core of the Earth, a region that sits beneath the solid mantle and outer core, has long been a mystery. But scientists can now reveal some secrets by studying seismic waves triggered by earthquakes that pass through the deepest layer of Earth.
Seismic waves can help geoscientists determine the shape and composition of the Earth’s core, and they also can indicate whether it is in a liquid or solid state. For instance, in the late 19th century scientists noted a “shadow zone” deep in the Earth where s-waves — which are unable to transmit through fluids or gases — suddenly stopped.
This new discovery suggests that the Earth has five layers, rather than four like it was previously thought. Scientists hope it will help them better understand the planet’s history and evolution, according to a report from ANU.