From Mini Brains To Fusion Energy: The Biggest Scientific Breakthroughs Of 2022

Many remarkable scientific developments were made in 2022, including the simulation of a wormhole and lab-grown brain cells.

From Mini Brains To Fusion Energy: The Biggest Scientific Breakthroughs Of 2022

The Year's Scientific Breakthroughs

The year 2022 has witnessed a number of advancements on many fronts, including politics, sports, movies, technology, and more. This year also saw some exceptionally bright scientific advances that proved to be wonderful for human life.

Let's look at a few of the most significant scientific breakthroughs from this year.

Historic Nuclear Fusion Breakthrough Announced

US researchers announced a historic nuclear fusion breakthrough on December 13, hailing a "landmark achievement" in the quest for a source of unlimited, clean power and an end to reliance on fossil fuels. The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) said it had used the world's largest laser to create, for the first time, a fusion reaction that replicated the process that powers the sun and generated more energy than it took to produce -- a goal pursued by scientists for decades.

Reversing death: US Scientists Revive Organs in Dead Pigs

Scientists announced that they have restored blood flow and cell function throughout the bodies of pigs that were dead for an hour, in a breakthrough experts say could mean we need to update the definition of death itself. The discovery raised hopes for a range of future medical uses in humans, the most immediate being that it could help organs last longer, potentially saving the lives of thousands of people worldwide in need of transplants.

Lab-grown brain cells learn to play video game Pong

Scientists have grown 800,000 brain cells in a lab that they say have learned to play the 1970s tennis-like video game, Pong. The research, published recently in the journal Neuron, has for the first time shown that brain cells living in a dish can perform goal-directed tasks.

The team, including researchers from Monash University, RMIT University, University College London and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research are now going to find out what happens when their DishBrain is affected by medicines and alcohol.

To conduct the experiment, the researchers took mouse cells from embryonic brains as well as some human brain cells derived from stem cells and grew them on top of microelectrode arrays that could both stimulate them and read their activity.

Microplastics Found In Human Blood For First Time

Tiny particles of plastic, called microplastic - a major source of pollution - have been detected in the human blood for the first time. It was detected in nearly 80 per cent of samples tested by a group of researchers from the Netherlands. The discovery is extremely significant as it shows that microplastic can travel around the body and may lodge in organs.

Men age faster than women

According to a study that published in "The Journals of Gerontology: Series A,", men age more quickly than women do, and by the time they reach their 50s, men's bodies are up to four biological years older than women of the same age.

'Baby' Wormhole

Scientists have long pursued a deeper understanding of wormholes and now appear to be making progress. Researchers announced in December that they forged two miniscule simulated black holes - those extraordinarily dense celestial objects with gravity so powerful that not even light can escape - in a quantum computer and transmitted a message between them through what amounted to a tunnel in space-time.

It was a "baby wormhole," according to Caltech physicist Maria Spiropulu, a co-author of the research published in the journal Nature. But scientists are a long way from being able to send people or other living beings through such a portal, she said.

A wormhole - a rupture in space and time - is considered a bridge between two remote regions in the universe. Scientists refer to them as Einstein-Rosen bridges after the two physicists who described them - Albert Einstein and Nathan Rosen.

Such wormholes are consistent with Einstein's theory of general relativity, which focuses on gravity, one of the fundamental forces in the universe. The term "wormhole" was coined by physicist John Wheeler in the 1950s.