Top 5 Science discoveries of 2017


5. Sleeping Trees After extensive research into the nocturnal habits of trees, a team of researchers from Hungary, Finland and Australia discovered in 2016 that trees have the ability to sleep and regularly take advantage of it, just like we do. Using laser-scanning technology that provided highly detailed digital maps of overnight tree activity, these researchers monitored the movement of branches and leaves, thereby discovering a pattern based on the time of day. The night-time drooping and day-time straightening of the trees that were monitored suggested a system of rest before subsequent photosynthetic processes. Measuring these actions in drastically different climates and environmental conditions, the experiment proved that trees fall dormant for the periods of time during which they can no longer take in the sun’s energy. These findings provide evidence of a night cycle for plant life, further linking the needs of humans with those of our fellow earth-bound inhabitants.
4. “Proxima B” Unlike Planet Nine, Proxima B is an even farther planet that can be seen due to its proximity with the sun. The only difference is that it isn’t near our sun; Proxima B orbits Proxima Centauri, the closest known star to the one supporting our galaxy. First discovered at an observatory in Chile using collectionof telescopes from all over the world, Proxima B is the first planet outside of our solar system believed to be able to support life. This is due to its estimated climate based on its orbit around the dwarf star to which it is linked. Rocky and warm, it may have the elements needed for water to exist on its surface, enabling the growth and movement of living organisms. But the prospect of life on this new planet remains unproven because it has yet to be determined whether or not it has a pressurized atmosphere. Since itis roughly four light-years, or almost 24 trillion miles, away from Earth, it is unlikely that a human expedition to Proxima B will take place anytime soon.
3. Dark Energy and Time The mysterious presence of dark energy, a force that pushes the universe outward into a rate of accelerated expansion, has long been a source of astonishment for physicists. But new evidence related to the strength of gravity may explain the relationship between dark energy and the speedup of time. The name“dark energy” comes from the force’s invisible and unparalleled ability to expand space faster than the familiar process by which gravity can pull it back in. According to the findings of physicists V. G. Gurzadyan and A. E. Allahverdyan, dark energy is linked to thermodynamics. This means that the orbit of objects like planets around the stars is not dependent on the so-called “arrow of time” leading from the past through the present into the future. Gravitational influence remains the same whether time moves forward in reverse. Thus, it is dark matter - not the push or pull of gravity - that has led to the expansion of the universe. Therefore, if the awe-inspiring power of dark energycould somehow is harnessed, it could potentially lead to time travel
2. Majorana Fermion In a first in the field of quantum mechanics, scientists at Princeton University discovered a new particle capable of simultaneous existence as both matter and antimatter. The elusive particle - designated Majorana Fermion - was captured by a two-story-tall microscope in late 2014. Confirmed by Dr. Ali Yazdani, the exposure proved Italian physicist Ettore Majorana’s theory of dual-role particlization to be accurate.This breakthrough created the likelihood of major advancements in solving what had previously been incalculable systems of computing. Furthermore, the unexpectedly stable nature of the new particle is likely to lead to tremendous advances in science and technology, as many systems will now have components that can function as both the ones and zeros integral to modernenumeration.
1. Paralysis Reversal In April of 2016, doctors and neuroscientists at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center working with experts from Battelle Memorial Institute, completed the prototype for a device called NeuroLife. The groundbreaking technology, fitted to a microchip implanted into the brain of a quadriplegic test subject, reverses the effects of paralysis caused by spinal damage by reconvening the brain with long-unresponsive muscles. Interpreting the 24-year-old car accident victim’s thoughts, the device bypassed the impaired spine to interact directly with the affected limbs through a set of mechanical sleeves. While the NeuroLife technology was first shown to enable movement in 2014, the 2016 advancements marked the first time in which a paralyzed individual could return to complex motor functions using artificial means. This activity included swiping a credit card and even playing the video game Guitar Hero. All this was the result of more than a decade of research into how to decipher brain signals using algorithms to determine an effective sequence of electrodes. These findings may lead the way to return victims of paralysis to unrestrained, fully functional and independent lives.

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