Since their arrival, mankind has been questing to rule Mother Nature and to solve mysteries. Mysteries of Earth and the Heavens. We have been seeking to prevent death and manipulate life. Seeking to defy time. To unravel phenomena. To play God.
Why do we do these things? To free ourselves from the tedium of labour? For civilization’s benefit? Whatever the reason, there has been success! Success beyond the justice of words, beyond the belief of the imagination!So many of us, as children, read stories of magic and mastery with fascination. Tales of Captain Nemo’s Nautilus becoming exemplary of art and technology; stories of graceful Atlantis and its secrets; what about worlds with flying carpets, damsels in distress waiting for their bold prince, magical potions capable of curing all ills; songs of gods and spirits and worlds of wonders.
Today, science has thrust reality into the face of our imagination. We are in our own world of possibilities. Today, the Nautilus is old beyond old in the face of modern technology; today, we are brushing the dust from places of intrigue and wonder to dwarf Atlantis; today, there is no need for a flying carpet when there are planes, helicopters and drones buzzing above us. Today, we need not communicate through scribbles flown back and forth by messenger birds. We are the click and type of a message away. Of a video call! Diseases chased away into extinction; eyes given to the blind and ears gifted to the deaf.
Science has blessed us.
Let’s take a brief tour around the science of 2015. Let’s peek at the strides mankind is taking.
The concept of bringing sight to the blind has existed for many years. Initially, visual prostheses were developed. These required complex surgeries involving the implantation of retinal microchips, coded to work similarly to how our retinas do. This breakthrough restored sight…to a degree. Now, however, artificial vision has risen a level, beyond focusing solely on the eyes. In 2015, there are spectacles developed with a fitted camera. The camera acts like the eyes, capturing visual images to send directly as ‘visual data’ to the brain’s visual cortex. This scientific leap demonstrates that the visual cortex plays a major role in determining what our eyes ‘see’.
Have you ever wanted to summon an object to yourself through commanding thoughts? Well, science is heading in this direction, too! A brain-computer interface is being developed, which will be able to translate brain activity into kinetic action. This involves a non-invasive attachment of electrodes to the brain, which will, in theory, detect even the tiniest of nerve impulses, thus sending the desired commands to the assigned device. One area of real potential for success is with artificial limbs. The technology is even reaching a stage where people might soon be able to communicate through ‘thought’!
The advent of 3D printing has brought new skies of opportunity to the horizon. Besides inanimate objects, such as a child’s toy or a piece of furniture, 3D printing is now being used to print organs. Ranging from kidneys to made-to-order bones, this process of bio-printing involves identification of target tissue architecture, generation of bio-ink (consisting of target tissue components), and the relaying of this information to the printer. The machine then prints the material using a layer-by-layer coded technique based on the information provided. Scientists are even theorizing that life on another planet can be generated via sending 3D printed copies of RNA; according to the RNA World Theory, this is how life on Earth first began.
A Single Food Supplement
Multiple attempts have striven to fight poverty and hunger in the world, and all have been in vain. Now, though, scientists have begun clinical trials for a new food supplement. If successful, the supplement, of which a single dose is thought to be able to fulfil the nutritional requirements of a grown person for a whole day, would be especially useful for those without affluence, and those for whom even food is simply an unaffordable luxury. Of course, the question of price remains.
Kepler 438b – Earth 2.0
As if all of the above was not enough to be excited about science, NASA has now discovered a planet similar to the size of earth. Kepler 438b is considered to be in the ‘habitable zone’ of our galaxy, suggesting that it contains flowing water as well as rocky landscapes. Kepler 438b orbits a red dwarf star, Kepler 438, which is smaller and cooler than our sun, once every 35.2 days. Water, land and a source of heat are all vital criteria on mankind’s list to find a replacement planet, should the need ever arise.
Imagine. A brand new Earth.
Scientists in all fields are making tremendous progress. Head-spinning progress. Picture Captain Nemo rising from the dead, and feasting his eyes upon the extraordinary innovations and discoveries of 2015. Indeed, dumbfounded and perhaps a little encouraged, I believe he would exclaim that oh yes, science is more fascinating than fantasy!
Photo 1 from Wikipedia Commons – Public Domain
Photo 2 from Flickr – some rights reserved
Guest Author Bio
Syeda Sumayya Tariq
I started writing and sketching as a hobby. Later it turned into one of my passions, thanks to all of those who appreciated. I enjoyed talking to my notebook through these, without having to reconsider and weigh my words and feelings before putting them on paper. It is my personal belief that this is the best way to share your feelings, experiences, hope and happiness with the wider audience. I am a student of science and I come across so many amazing things everyday that I cannot help but share it with others. Sometimes however, experiences from daily life teach you so much more than a school ever can.