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Stats: 17,799 members, 72,104 Topics, 15,717 Comments. Date: Aug 18 2019, 3:32 am

Junior Taamas
, Nigeria.
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Contemporary science is a hotbed of cutting-
edge research. Astronomers across the globe
have marveled at the first photographic
evidence of a black hole. An unconventional
in vitro fertilization (IVF) technique has
come under fire from medical professionals.

Elsewhere, scientists from Japan have fired
explosives at an asteroid, and in Germany,
they have discovered a prehistoric molecule
from the early years of universe. Setting
aside the negative headlines—like the Israeli
spacecraft that crash-landed on the Moon or
the Indian missile test that might have
endangered the International Space Station—
here are ten of the most fascinating
breakthroughs to have made recent
headlines.

10. Astronomers Have Bombed An Asteroid

A group of Japanese astronomers has
decided to bomb the asteroid Ryugu, hoping
it can answer some fundamental questions
about the origins of life on Earth. A cone-
shaped instrument known as a “small carry-
on impact” was sent hurtling into the
asteroid , where it blasted out a crater using
a baseball-sized wad of copper explosives.

The device was fired from the Hayabusa 2
spacecraft—a pioneering exploration mission
operated by the Japan Aerospace Exploration
Agency. The spacecraft will head back to
Ryugu at a later date to collect samples from
beneath the asteroid’s surface that been
uncovered in the blast.

Researchers predict there is a wealth of
organic material and water from the birth of
the solar system preserved underground in
the asteroid. By analyzing the samples from
Hayabusa 2 , they hope to gain a clearer
understanding of the early stages of the
solar system and of life on Earth.

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Junior Taamas
, Nigeria.
9. Can We Taste Smells?

It seems our tongues might be more capable
than we originally realized. A research team
from Philadelphia has suggested that
receptor cells in the tongue are able to
detect odors and smells. Their work is
prompting experts to reassess whether taste
and smell are combined by the brain alone
or if there is some level of association
between the two signals.

The group, whose findings were published in
the journal Chemical Senses , began by
experimenting on receptors in genetically
modified mice . Following this, they moved
onto cells in humans, which displayed
similar properties to the mice and were
found to respond to aromatic compounds.

For now, it is far too early to draw any
concrete conclusion, but with further
development, these ideas may be applied to
persuade people to eat a healthier diet. Dr.
Mehmet Hakan Ozdener, a specialist at the
Monell Chemical Senses Center, has
suggested that mildly altering the scent of
some foods could reduce sugar intake.

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Rufai Oladimeji
Lagos State University
English
100Level, Nigeria.
8 Molecule Detected From The ‘Dawn Of Chemistry’

After decades of scouring the cosmos,
experts have successfully detected the
compound helium hydride, thought to be the
first molecule formed in the history of the
universe . Due to the obstructive effects of
the Earth’s atmosphere, researchers decided
to take to the skies to make their landmark
discovery. The Stratospheric Observatory for
Infrared Astronomy, an airborne observatory
built into a modified Boeing 747, was able to
pick up infrared signals emanating from the
prehistoric molecule.

In a period dubbed the “dawn of chemistry,”
around 100,000 years after the Big Bang ,
the universe had cooled to a low enough
temperature that particles began to interact
and coalesce. In this era, when light atoms
and molecules first came into being, it was
helium hydride that paved the way for far
more intricate interstellar structures to
come. By continuing to investigate the
elusive molecule, researchers are able to
explore the expansion of the universe in its
nascent stages.

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Rufai Oladimeji
Lagos State University
English
100Level, Nigeria.
7 New Species Of Primitive Human Discovered

Another strand has been added to the
history of human evolution . Remnants of an
extinct relative have been found in Callao
Cave on the island of Luzon in the
Philippines. The primitive species, known as
Homo luzonensis , is said to have resembled
modern humans in some respects but in
others was closer to our ancient ape-like
ancestors. On top of that, they are thought
to have been competent climbers, as
indicated by the curved bones in their
fingers and toes.

The discovery poses a number of questions
about the long and complex history of our
species. With only 13 teeth and bones on
which to base their hypotheses, experts
remain in the dark as to how Homo
luzonensis came to be on the island in the
first place. Furthermore, the species’
features suggest that our ancient ancestors
made the journey out of Africa to Southeast
Asia, an idea which contradicts current
historical theories.

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Rufai Oladimeji
Lagos State University
English
100Level, Nigeria.
6. Pig Brain Revived After Death

The zombie pigs are said to be among us. A
team of neuroscientists from the Yale
University School of Medicine have
demonstrated that, in part, it is possible to
revive a pig’s brain hours after death. Their
pioneering new system, BrainEx, has
restored a number of basic functions to over
30 dead brains, such as the ability to absorb
sugars and oxygen. (The left picture above
shows a dead brain, and the right shows a
partially reactivated brain.)

The technology involved in BrainEx sends an
oxygen-rich solution pulsing through the
pig’s grey matter. This fluid partially revives
the cells for a maximum of six hours, while
also slowing down the process of
deterioration after death. However, the
brains are, by definition, still dead; there is
no evidence of consciousness being
reinstated.

This highly advanced research presents an
ethical quandary over whether it is correct
to experiment on semi-living beings. The
National Institute of Health has been
discussing the implications of BrainEx since
2016 via their Neuroethics Working Group
and are wary of the possible consequences
of using similar technology on humans.

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Rufai Oladimeji
Lagos State University
English
100Level, Nigeria.
5. Scientists Create Transparent Organs

Organ transplants may soon become a thing
of the past. For years, scientists have strove
to create fully functioning artificial organs to
address the significant dearth of donors. The
dream is now one step closer, courtesy of
Dr. Ali Erturk and his colleagues at the
Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich.

The team has successfully developed a
technique to fashion transparent human
organs, with an aim to further understand
their elaborate inner structures. Organic
solvents are used to remove fats and
pigments without disturbing any of the tissue
underneath. The uncovered organs can be
explored in intricate detail using a laser
scanner, which allows scientists to build up a
complete structural image of the body part.

Erturk is confident that, as technology
improves, these scans can be used as
blueprints to produce 3-D bioprinted replica
organs. The team hopes to have constructed
a 3-D printed kidney by 2025.

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Rufai Oladimeji
Lagos State University
English
100Level, Nigeria.
4. Obesity-Resistant Genes Discovered

The link between genetics and body mass has
been known for many years, but now
scientists at Cambridge University have
identified exactly which genes keep people
slim. Around four million people in Britain,
six percent of the population with European
ancestry, have a specific DNA coding that
prevents them from gaining large amounts
of weight.

Previous studies discovered that the gene
MC4R controls a protein known as
melanocortin 4, a brain receptor associated
with appetite. Participants in this experiment
with a specific strand of MC4R displayed
more restraint in their appetites, making
them far less likely to suffer from obesity or
type 2 diabetes . This deepened
understanding of genetics opens up the
possibility of a slimming medication to
combat rising levels of obesity

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Rufai Oladimeji
Lagos State University
English
100Level, Nigeria.
3 Memory Loss Reversed

By stimulating the brain with electrical
pulses, scientists are able to temporarily
offset the debilitating effects of memory
loss. With age, vital cognitive networks in the
brain begin to lose their synchronicity. This
leads to the deterioration of the working
memory—the short-term processing system
that plays a key role in tasks like facial
recognition and arithmetic.

Now, neuroscientists at Boston University
have found that noninvasive electrical
stimulation appears to improve the
connection between these networks. The
researchers reported that a study group of
60- to 76-year-olds performed significantly
better in a series of working memory tasks
after around half an hour of pulse treatment.

Those with the most pronounced memory
issues showed the biggest improvements.
Further clinical trials are needed to
determine whether this stimulation is a
viable method for combating memory loss or
dementia.

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Rufai Oladimeji
Lagos State University
English
100Level, Nigeria.
2 Baby Born With DNA From Three People

In a breakthrough moment for in vitro
fertilization, a baby has been born in Greece
with DNA from three different people. The
newborn boy was conceived using the
mitochondrial donation technique, in which
the intracellular structure of the mother’s
egg is modified slightly using a second donor
egg. During the technique, the mitochondria
—tiny, floating structures that provide power
to the cell—from the mother’s egg are
replaced by that of a donor. While the vast
majority of the baby’s genetic material has
been passed down from his parents, an
extremely small amount of his DNA—around
0.2 percent—originates from the donor.
Doctors claim this is the first time that
mitochondrial donation has been applied to
combat fertility issues. Spanish embryologist
Nuno Costa-Borges has labeled the healthy
birth a “revolution in assisted reproduction”
and claims that it has the potential to help a
multitude of would-be mothers in the future.

However, critics of the treatment are
warning women to proceed with caution.

Reproductive expert Tim Child has explained
how little is known about the risks or
benefits of the technique, dismissing Costa-
Borges’s claims as unfounded in evidence.

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Rufai Oladimeji
Lagos State University
English
100Level, Nigeria.
1. First image Of A Black Hole

For the past century, the only evidence
astrophysicists have had for the existence of
black holes has been scientific theories and
indirect observations. The cosmic giants have
a gravitational attraction so powerful that
nothing can escape their immense pull, and
their existence has been incredibly
challenging to verify. And yet, in spite of the
major difficulties, scientists have managed to
generate an image of one.

The picture in question is of the fiery disk of
accreted gas surrounding the black hole at
the core of the Messier 87 galaxy. With a
diameter of 38 billion kilometers (23.6
million mi), the active supermassive colossus
lurks 55 million light-years from our planet.

The black hole itself is impossible to literally
“see,” but the dark area at the center of the
ring corresponds to its shadow.
To capture the image, a task described by
leading astrophysicist France Cordova as
“Herculean,” scientists deployed the Event
Horizon Telescope (EHT), a global network of
high-precision radio telescopes. This
Herculean task required a Herculean amount
of data, so much that it was impossible to
transfer over the Internet. Instead, half a
ton of hard drives had to be flown to a
central location, where the readings were
combined using state-of-the-art processing
techniques.

The image appears to verify the first
predictions of black holes made by Einstein’s
general theory of relativity, which addresses
the distortion of space and time caused by
immense, massive objects. The EHT
researchers now have their sights on
Sagittarius A—the supermassive beast at the
heart of the Milky Way.

listverse.com/2019/05/13/10-recent-scientific-breakthroughs-and-discoveries/
10 Recent Scientific Breakthroughs And Discoveries - Books/Literature/Writing

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