Major Scientific Achievements of 2019 | Let’s Look Back

Hey Geeks! It’s almost the end of 2019 and it has been a great year for science and technology. We saw various scientific breakthroughs – from commercially viable quantum computing and the discovery of water on Mars to advances in medical science and artificial intelligence. In this article, we are going to look back at the major scientific achievements of 2019 in chronological order.

Index

January ’19

January of 2019 saw some of the most exciting scientific achievements from China’s soft landing on the far side of the Moon to IBM unveiling the first circuit-based commercial quantum computer.

CNSA’s Chang’e 4 Soft Lands On The Far Side of The Moon

On 3rd January 2019, China became the very first nation to have successfully soft-landed a spacecraft on the far side of the moon. Chang’e 4 is a robotic spacecraft mission consisting of a lander and the Yutu-2 rover.

IBM Unveils World’s First Circuit-Based Commerical Quantum Computer

IBM Q System One - Major Scientific Achievements of 2019 - GeekyMinds
IBM Q System One. Source – CNET

Known as the IBM Q System One, the 20 qubits integrated quantum computing system is housed in a 9x9x9 ft air-tight glass cube that properly maintains environmental variables. IBM unveiled the quantum computer on 8th January 2019.

February ’19

Medical science made big advances towards solving cancer and the evidence of water on Mars.

Iridium Combined with Albumin and Light Can Kill Cancer Cells

On 3rd February 2019, Researchers at the University of Warwick found that Iridium – a rare metal on earth from the meteorite that wiped out dinosaurs – attached to albumin, a protein in our blood, can penetrate and destroy cancer cells when blasted with light.

First-Ever Evidence of Groundwater System on Mars

Artist's Impression of Ancient Mars
Artist’s Impression of Ancient Mars. Source – Wikipedia

On 28th February 2019, scientists from the European Space Agency found evidence suggesting that massive amounts of water used to exist both above and below the surface of Mars.

March ’19

Scientists developed a more accurate model of our galaxy and extremophiles were found to have survived 18 months outside the ISS.

About 90% of Milky Way Galaxy is Dark Matter

On 8th March 2019, astronomers developed the most accurate measurement of the dimensions of the Milky Way galaxy. The report indicated that our galaxy is much bigger than we previously thought and that 90% of its mass is composed of dark matter.

Related: Beyond The Visible – Dark Matter and Dark Energy

Life-Forms From Earth Survived 18 months in Space

On 27th March 2019, scientists reported that life-forms from Earth survived 18 months living in outer space outside the International Space Station (ISS), as part of the BIOMEX studies related to the EXPOSE-R2 mission.

April ’19

One of the most exciting scientific achievements of 2019 happened in the month of April as astronomers released the first-ever image of a black hole.

The First-Ever Image of A Black Hole

The famous photograph of the supermassive black hole - Major Scientific Achievements of 2019 - GeekyMinds
The famous photograph of the supermassive black hole. Source – NASA JPL

On 10th April 2019, astronomers around the world celebrated as a black hole and its shadow have been captured in an image for the first time. The stunning new image shows the shadow of the supermassive black hole in the centre of Messier 87 (M87), an elliptical galaxy some 55 million light-years from Earth.

May ’19

The month of May 2019 saw various scientific breakthroughs with the creation of synthetic life and the discovery, as opposed to evidence, of water on Mars.

Scientists Create A New Synthetic (Possibly Artificial) Form of Life

Researchers on 15th May 2019, in a milestone effort, reported the creation of a new synthetic (possibly artificial) form of viable life, a variant of the bacteria Escherichia coli.

Water Discovered On the Martian North Pole

The Martian North Pole
The Martian North Pole. Source: Space.com

On 23rd May 2019, astronomers reported the discovery of a very large amount of water in the northern polar region of the planet Mars.

Related: How Will The Human Species Evolve on Mars?

June ’19

Another one of the major scientific achievements of 2019 came in the month of June with researchers unveiling a new energy-efficient computer memory.

Researchers Unveil Energy Efficient Computer Memory

On 20th June 2019, researchers at Lancaster University described a new electronic memory device that combines the properties of both DRAM and flash, while recording or deleting data using hundreds of times less energy.

Related: Five Great Women of Computer Science and Technology

Wikipedia Gets Encoded into Synthetic DNA

On 29th June 2019, scientists report that all 16 GB of Wikipedia have been encoded into synthetic DNA.

July ’19

ISRO launches Chandrayaan 2, India’s Second Lunar Exploration Mission

Chandrayaan 2 Liftoff - Major Scientific Achievements of 2019 - GeekyMinds
Chandrayaan 2 Liftoff. Source – ISRO

On 22nd July 2019, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched Chandrayaan-2, its second lunar exploration mission, which includes an orbiterlander and rover. While the orbiter was successfully inserted into orbit, the lander failed to soft-land on the moon.

August ’19

The month of August saw various scientific achievements. Among them, the unearthing a giant parrot fossil and quantum teleportation caught our attention.

Fossil of An Ancient Giant Parrot Found in New Zealand

Artist's impression of the giant parrot. Credit - The Conversation
Artist’s impression of the giant parrot. Credit – The Conversation

On 7th August 2019, biologists reported the discovery of the fossil remains of a first-of-its-kind extinct giant parrot named The Hercules parrot (or Heracles inexpectatus) in New Zealand. The parrot is thought to have stood up to 1 m (3 ft 3 in) tall and weighed approximately 7 kg (15 lb).

Quantum Teleportation Achieved For The First Time

On 23rd August 2019, Austrian and Chinese scientists reported the very first teleportation of three-dimensional quantum states, or “qutrits“, which are more complex than two-dimensional qubits.

September ’19

Google Creates AI Capable of Detecting Skin Conditions

Artificial Intelligence

On 11th September 2019, Google reported the creation of a deep learning system, trained on 50,000 different diagnoses, able to detect 26 skin conditions as accurately as dermatologists.

October ’19

Google claimed to have achieved quantum supremacy with their new Sycamore processor and Northwestern University researchers unveiled a 3D printer which can produce human-sized objects within two hours.

Physicists Report A Way of Determining The State of Schrödinger’s Cat

On 1st October 2019, physicists reported a way of sneak-peaking at the famous thought experiment, Schrödinger’s cat, without killing the hypothetical cat.

A 3D Printer Capable of Printing Human Size Objects Accurately

On 17th October 2019, Northwestern University researchers unveiled a new 3D printer known as HARP (high-area rapid printing), which can produce an object the size of an adult human within two hours, without sacrificing quality or resolution.

Google Claims To Have Achieved Quantum Supremacy

Sycamore Processor - Major Scientific Achievements of 2019 - GeekyMinds
Left: Artist’s rendition of the Sycamore processor mounted in the cryostat. Right: Photograph of the Sycamore processor. Source – Google AI Blog

On 23rd October 2019, Google announced that its ‘Sycamore’ processor has achieved quantum supremacy, performing a specific task in 200 seconds that would take the world’s best supercomputers 10,000 years to complete.

November ’19

The month of November saw a number of the major scientific achievements of 2019 with researchers demonstrating a way to 3D print living skin to astronomers mapping Titan.

Researchers Demonstrate A Way To 3D Print Living Skin

On 1st November 2019, researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute demonstrated a way to 3D print living skin, complete with blood vessels, which could be used for more natural and accurate grafts.

Titan, Saturn’s Largest Moon is Fully Mapped By Cassini

Sunlight reflects off lakes of liquid methane around Titan's north pole.
Sunlight reflects off lakes of liquid methane around Titan’s north pole. Source – Nature

On 18th November 2019, astronomers revealed a complete map of Saturns’ moon Titan. The mapping was performed with the help of data from NASA’s Cassini mission.

December ’19

December didn’t fall short of scientific achievements – researchers created artificial neurons, Intel unveiled a commercial quantum processor and scientists discovered cave art more than 43 thousand years old.

Researchers Create Artificial Neurons Capable of Mimicking Biological Neurons

Diagram of a Neuron
Diagram of a Neuron. Source – Wikipedia

On 3rd December 2019, researchers from the University of Bath reported the creation of artificial neurons capable of reproducing the electrical properties of biological neurons onto semiconductor chips.

Intel’s ‘Horse Ridge’ To Make Commerical Quantum Computers Viable

On 9th December 2019, Intel revealed a first-of-its-kind cryogenic control chip, code-named “Horse Ridge”, for control of multiple quantum bits (qubits) and scaling of larger quantum computer systems.

Scientists Discover 43,900 Years Old Cave Art in Central Indonesia

On 11th December 2019, Scientists reported the discovery of cave art in central Indonesia that is estimated to be at least 43,900 years old, and noted that the finding was “the oldest pictorial record of storytelling and the earliest figurative artwork in the world”.

Did we miss something? Let us know in the comments.