What we didn’t know before the 21st century

How much smarter are we in this century? Wondering if we have actually made progress in understanding the world in the 21st century, we present to you a list of 7 key insights that science has brought us in recent years.

Namely, the world today is significantly different from the one we lived in before 2001, when before the era of social networks, the American president did not constantly tweet, 3D glasses were not worn in cinemas and the century was announced (like all previous ones) as the century of the future. .

The changes have, of course, been contributed by various historical processes, old and never solved colonial challenges, globalization and unstoppable population growth, but also the unpredictable consequences of new technologies such as the development of the Internet, mobile telephony and the use of new materials. Noting that a lot of things were known before, we did not look here at all the numerous technological breakthroughs of this century, as well as the fact that seven million today’s scientists publish millions of papers from year to year whose true effects will be known only in the so-called . of the future.

But what seven key insights has science undoubtedly come to in this century? To encourage you to think about it, we’ve compiled the following list:

1. We get to know the human genome

At the very beginning of the 21st century, in 2001, the results of a complex project to decipher the human genome were published, various companies simultaneously entered the patent race to take the lead in genetic technology, and miracles such as the first synthetic genome (bacteria) began to appear. made in 2010. Along with stem cells and nanotechnology, the understanding of genetics has dramatically changed medicine since then, and the consequences of getting to know the genome go much further, in all areas of science.

2. Gravitational waves exist

The spectacular result of the LIGO experiment confirmed in 2016 the existence of gravitational waves that no one could record before, and which Einstein predicted with his General Theory of Relativity. With the help of two LIGO instruments in 2016, gravitational waves created by the collision of two black holes were caught, which created a new, gravitational radio astronomy.

3. CRISPR can replace any gene

It is a new and extremely powerful technology that has been intensively researched since 2005 – CRISPR is an almost accidentally discovered defense mechanism that protects bacteria from viruses and allows them to effectively cut off intruders with the help of proteins called CAS, which work as scissors. , such as bacteriophages, from its DNA chain. The researchers quickly realized that with its help, parts of genetic information that are not viruses can be cut out, that any gene can be easily replaced and that it can be applied to humans as well. Thus, in 2012, a technology called CRISPR / CAS9 was created.

4. Neanderthals in us

Plenty of research has revealed much new about the lives of Neanderthals who were significantly more intelligent than previously thought. Other, new species of our genus Homo were discovered in this century, and thanks to genetic research, a lot has been learned about the continuous crossing of all these species with the first humans. In 2010, a project to decipher the Neanderthal genome was launched.

5. Planets outside the solar system

Although the first ones were discovered in 1988, after 2009, a real revolution began in finding planets outside the solar system. The Kepler space telescope has since discovered a huge number of so-called exoplanets, planets orbiting other stars in space. To date, more than 3,600 of them have been discovered in more than 2,700 different star systems, and some of them are in the so-called habitable zone. The closest one has been discovered so far in the system of the star Proxima Centauri, at a distance of 4.2 light-years, and the most attention was attracted at the beginning of 2017 by the interesting discovery of seven terrestrial planets in the system of the star Trappist-1.

6. Water on Mars in a liquid state

Enormous results have been achieved in space exploration during the second decade of the 21st century, and robotic probes have been sent to various worlds in the solar system. The greatest attention is caused by the planet Mars, which will be the goal of the mission with a human crew in this century. Among other findings, NASA announced in late 2013 that the Curiosity robot confirmed that the water was in a liquid state on Mars, which opened up the possibility of the development of microorganisms.

7. There is a particle of God

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN near Geneva in the summer of 2012 proved the existence of the Higgs boson, popularly called the God Particle. The famous particle was recorded in proton collisions on two separate detectors and experiments, CMS and ATLAS, after the LHC accelerated proton beams. Thus, for physicists, the Standard Model of Elementary Particles, a theory that describes the structure of matter, has been largely confirmed.

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