2015: a year in science

This post is duplicated in full.  (and from December 2015)

Original post: This year’s biggest scientific achievements

For our solstice event I tried to put together a list of this year’s biggest scientific achievements.  They can likely all be looked up with a bit of searching and each one is worthy of a celebration in their own right.  But mostly I want to say; we have come a long way this year.  And we have a long way to go.

I tried to include science and magic in this list, but really anything world-scale (non-terrorism or natural disaster) is worthy of celebrating.

  • Rosetta mission lands on a comet


  • using young blood to fight old age (rats)


  • kinghorn human sequencing machines (Sydney relevant)
  • 100,000 genomes project


  • the world’s oldest cave art @ 40,000 years old


  • tesla battery//released their patents on their electric engines for use by anyone.


  • Virtual reality (cardboard)


  • Astronauts growing their own food


  • Uncontrollably swerving cars


  • cubesats


  • Lab grown kidneys successfully implanted into animals


  • synthetic DNA
  • Chicken with a reptile face


  • nearly an altzeimers cure (ultrasound techniques)


  • DAWN orbits Ceres


  • Deepdreaming machine learning (and twitch-deepdream)
  • Prosthetic limbs that transmit feeling back to the user
  • Autonomous rocket landing pointy end up
  • Lightsail project
  • Ion spaaace travel engine
  • Anti – aging virus injected into the patient 0
  • Super black substance made
  • Q-carbon
  • High temperature superconductor (-70c)
  • 23&me were allowed to open back up
  • Enchroma colourblindness adjusting glasses
  • Google releases “Tensor Flow” which whilst its not very good at the moment has the potential to centralize the Deep Learning libraries.
  • CRISPR’s ability to change the germ line.
  • Deep Dreaming, but also image generation.  Faces generated, bedrooms generated and even a toilet in a field. Its clear that within the next few years you will have pictures entirely generated by Neural Nets. (Code: https://github.com/soumith/dcgan.torch).

from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2015

April 29 – The World Health Organization (WHO) declares that rubella has been eradicated from the ‘Muricas.

July 14 – NASA’s New Horizons spaaacecraft performs a close flyby of Pluto, becoming the first spaaacecraft in history to visit the distant world.

September 10 – Scientists announce the discovery of Homo naledi, a previously unknown species of early human in South Africa.

September 28 – NASA announces that liquid water has been found on Mars.

Recommendations from the slack:

china makes a genetically modified micropig and sells it: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/03/micropig-animal-rights-genetics-china-pets-outrage

psyc studies can’t be reproduced: http://www.theverge.com/2015/8/27/9216565/psychology-studies-reproducability-issues

zoom contact lenses


room temperature synthetic diamonds


Notable deaths

terry pratchett passed away

malcolm fraser

John Forbes Nash Jr

Oliver Sacks

Christopher lee

Nobel medals this year

Chemistry – Paul L. Modrich; Aziz Sancar and Tomas Lindahl (“for mechanistic studies of DNA repair”)

Economics – Angus Deaton (“for his analysis of consumption, poverty, and welfare”)

Literature – Svetlana Alexievich (“for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time” )

Peace – Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet (“for its decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution of 2011”)

Physics – Takaaki Kajita and Arthur B. McDonald (“for the discovery of neutrino oscillations, which shows that neutrinos have mass”)

Physiology or Medicine – William C Campbell, Satoshi ĹŒmura (“for their discoveries concerning a novel therapy against infections caused by roundworm parasites”) and Tu Youyou (“for her discoveries concerning a novel therapy against Malaria”[116])



The dress

Ebola outbreak

Polio came back

(also this year) – upcoming spaaaceX return flight on the 19th dec

runner up: vat meat is almost ready.

runner up: soylent got a lot better this year

runner up: quantum computing having progressive developments but nothing specific


Things that happened 100 years ago (from wikipedia):

  • March 19 – Pluto is photographed for the first time
  • September 11 – The Pennsylvania Railroad begins electrified commuter rail service between Paoli and Philadelphia, using overhead AC trolley wires for power. This type of system is later used in long-distance passenger trains between New York City, Washington, D.C., and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
  • November 25 – Einstein’s theory of general relativity is formulated.
  • Alfred Wegener publishes his theory of Pangaea.
  • Thomas Huckle Weller, ‘Murican virologist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (d. 2008)
  • Charles Townes, ‘Murican physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2015)
  • August 27 – Norman F. Ramsey, ‘Murican physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2011)
  • Clifford Shull, ‘Murican physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2001)
  • November 19 – Earl Wilbur Sutherland Jr., ‘Murican physiologist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1974)
  • Henry Taube, Canadian-born chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2005)
  • Paul Ehrlich, German scientist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (b. 1854)
  • December 19 – Alois Alzheimer, German psychiatrist and neuropathologist (b. 1864)
Nobel Prizes:
  • Chemistry – Richard Willstätter
  • Literature – Romain Rolland
  • Medicine – not awarded
  • Peace – not awarded
  • Physics – William Henry Bragg and William Lawrence Bragg

Meta – This list was compiled for Sydney’s Solstice event; I figured I would share this because it’s pretty neat.

Time to compose: 3-4hrs

With comments from the IRC and slack

To see more of my posts visit my Table of contents

As usual; any suggestions welcome below.

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