2007 was an amazing year for science, and Wired News has captured the best of what took place in their first annual Top 10 Scientific Breakthroughs of 2007. Here’s what made the grade:
10. Smaller Transistors: Intel was able to reduce the size of features on their chips from 65 nanometers to 45 nanometers.
9. A Rhesus Monkey is Cloned to Make Stem Cells: This implies that cells from a sick patient could one day be cloned to make stem cells from their own bodies, which could be used to repair their own organs without risk of rejection.
8. Planets Discovered That May Harbor Life: A pair of potentially life-containing planets was found in a distant solar system.
7. A Transparent Material as Strong as Steel: Using nanometer-sized clay particles, engineers created a lightweight material with extraordinary strength.
6. Soft Tissue From a T. Rex Analyzed: The biological molecules from a well-preserved Tyrannosaurus rex leg bone revealed it had a lot in common with modern-day chickens.
5. Rhett Syndrome in Lab Mice Cured: This implies that Rhett syndrome, a neurodevelopmental disorder that prevents children from walking and talking, and causes tremors, may be curable.
4. Enzymes Convert Any Blood Type to O: Since almost everyone can tolerate blood type O, this technology could help hospitals treat patients during blood shortages.
3. Dinosaur Mummy Excavated and Scanned: The nearly intact mummy of a plant-eating dinosaur was captured in 3-D images. Already, a striped pattern on its scales, and surprising information about its muscles mass and bone spacing, have been revealed.
2. Chimpanzees Make Spears for Hunting: Anthropologists observed female chimpanzees break branches from trees, strip the leaves and sharpen the tips, then use them to hunt small animals.
1. Skin Cells Turned Into Stem Cells: Researchers turned skin cells into stem cells without using eggs or having to destroy human embryos. The cells often turned cancerous, however, but the researchers believe they can tweak the process to create tissues that don’t turn into tumors.