20 Important Scientific Developments in 2018

20 Important Scientific Developments in 2018

In 2018, there were many scientific developments that surprised us. We have seen groundbreaking, inspiring and sometimes frightening news and studies in artificial intelligence, robotics, space sciences, internet, big data and many more. While making innovations that will make our current life easier, scientists continue their studies for planets where we can establish new living spaces. We have compiled the scientific developments that marked 2018 for you.

1- The first genetically modified babies were born.

Chinese scientist He Jiankui claimed that he secretly made genetic changes in the embryos of twin girls in the country.

If the claims are true, the babies will be the first known embryo-modified children in the world. After the research, the fact that the genetic change could be done in such a rapid manner brought both curiosity and concern.

2- How is the work shared among ants?

A study revealed that 30 percent of ants do 70 percent of the work. 70% of ants do nothing during this time.

The reason is : When all ants are working at the same time, there is a loss of productivity.

3- Plants also have a life.

By visualizing the anti-threat communication systems that enable plants to respond to attack, scientists have shown that plants are more complex than we thought. Scientists who gave anesthetic gas to plants made visible how plants react to it. The research also learned that some plants in the rainforest send specific messages to some animals to spread their seeds.

4- Neutrinos

The development that will illuminate our curiosity about the formation of the universe, albeit a little, is the discovery that neutrinos, one of the building blocks of the universe, can pass through lead metal, which is about one light-year (10 trillion km) thick, without hitting any atoms.

A July study showed that one of these neutrinos came to Earth from a distant galaxy.

5-Google’s Artificial Intelligence has learned to train itself

DeepMind, Google’s artificial intelligence research company, has developed a system that allows artificial intelligence to learn on its own.

6-The world lost its greatest genius

Stephen Hawking, possibly the world’s best-known scientist, has passed away. The famous cosmologist and physics professor died at the age of 76. Professor Hawking passed away peacefully at his home in Cambridge in the early hours of the morning, according to the statement made by his family about Hawking’s death.

7-Atlas robot ready for olympics

Atlas robot, which had previously passed tests such as jumping, grasping, and overcoming obstacles, is now doing them all at the same time. Moreover, it is now more agile and more aesthetic.

8-Meet the world’s first artificial intelligence newscaster

The world’s first artificial intelligence newscaster took office at Xinhua, the official news agency of China. The newscaster, who can present news in both Chinese and English, has digitized a large part of our lives with artificial intelligence.

9- Turkish Space Agency was established

The Turkish Space Agency was officially established by presidential decree. In the decree published in the Official Gazette, the duties and authorities of the agency were determined. In the Decree No. 23 published with the signature of President Erdogan, it was reported that the special budgeted Turkish Space Agency, which has legal personality and administrative and property autonomy, was established.

10-Lab-made lung implanted in pig

Joan Elizabeth Nichols, a professor of medicine at the University of Texas at Galveston, reported that they kept the pigs alive with the lungs they produced in the laboratory. The researchers removed the left lobe of the lung of the pig to be transplanted and transplanted the lung lobe they had produced in the laboratory.

11-3D Printed Glucose Biosensor for Blood Glucose Measurement

Turkish scientist Assoc. Dr. Arda Gözen, who is in the department of mechanical and materials engineering at Washington State University, broke new ground by producing a wearable device that measures blood sugar on a 3D printer. Gözen stated that since the system is produced with 3D technology, special devices can be made for each patient, and explained that the cost of the new system will be low and the amount of harmful waste will be less than the existing ones.

12-Meta lens instead of glass lens

Federico Capasso, a professor of applied physics at Harvard University, announced that glass lenses will be replaced by a product called meta-lens, which they produce with nanotechnology. Capasso stated that with the very small meta lens, all the rays of different wavelengths that make up visible light can be focused on a single point for the first time.

13- 100 times more active enzymes

Thanks to the University of Queensland, gene sequences were obtained and enzymes from millions of years ago were reconstructed. These enzymes can stay active 100 times longer. In this way, chemicals used in the pharmaceutical industry will be released to the market at a very low cost thanks to old enzymes.

14- Atomic-thick memory storage

With the work of the University of Texas at Austin and Peking University, an atomic-thick memory storage device was made. The study, which failed in initial trials, was reported by Deji Akinwande, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Texas. This invention was called “atomister” because resistors with memory were called “memristors”. In this way, the size of computers and phones will be reduced and their capacity will be increased.

15- Slogger humanoid robot HPT-5P

In Japan, the National Institute of Advanced Science and Technology has developed a robot that acts completely independently like a human. The “HRP-5P” humanoid robot capable of heavy work was introduced to the press. The robot can carry 12 kilograms of plasterboard and screw it to the wall. The angle of his arms and legs can be adjusted according to the weight of the material he is carrying. It has been reported that humanoid robots are designed to assemble ships and aircraft.

16- Long life rechargeable battery

Professor Robert Grubbs of the California Institute of Technology’s Department of Chemistry has developed a long-lasting battery in collaboration with researchers at NASA and Honda. It was stated that lithium-based batteries, which is a positively charged ion, will be replaced by fluoride-based batteries, which is a negatively charged ion. Thanks to these fluoride batteries, we will be able to use phones and laptops for weeks without charging. Fluoride batteries, which had to be kept at a very high temperature to generate sufficient voltage, were operated at room temperature using solution.

17- Biomaterial that reaches the tumor without damaging the healthy cell

Associate Professor Cole DeForest, from the Department of Chemical Engineering at George Washington University in the USA, can deliver the drug to the tumor without damaging the healthy cell with the biomaterial he produces. Since the material called hydrogel is programmed in the study, it does not harm the healthy cell. Stating that 90 percent of the hydrogels are water and the rest is biopolymer, DeForest added that they placed the drug required for treatment into the hydrogel. The hydrogel, which passes without touching the healthy cells, breaks down when it comes to the tumor cell, releasing the drug.

18- New technique to examine neurons in the brain

Sylvie Roke, Associate Professor of Biophotonics Laboratory at EPFL in Switzerland, announced that he has developed a new technique to study neurons in the brain. According to the principle of the technique, the voltage (membrane potential) changes between neurons that communicate with each other by sending electrochemical signals are determined by examining the movements of water molecules. While it is claimed that this technique is risk-free for patients; In the technique they use, the water molecules surrounding the neurons create photons at different frequencies with the effect of laser signals.

19- Artificial intelligence approaching human level

This artificial intelligence program can answer questions like a human. While the average grade point average of the robots participating in the exam was 82,304, this program received 82,650. At the Microsoft Research Asia research center, a successful artificial intelligence technology was developed that can complete the reading comprehension exam called “SQuAD”, which is selected from 100 thousand questions by Stanford University. According to Microsoft, this artificial intelligence is still far from human level, but it has made progress.

20- Water on Mars and the Moon

There is water on Mars in solid form, though not in liquid form. This water was once liquid. A lake at the planet’s south pole in July excited scientists. The diameter of the lake is estimated at 20 km. The discovery was made while NASA’s Curiosity spacecraft was examining stone remains in a lake bed. We are now more likely to find traces of life on Mars.


The world’s first: 3D bioprinter


Nanortopedi Inc. which is established in Technopark Istanbul is working on the most advanced model of all 3D bioprinters in the world, that is, tissue printers. Another surprise of the company is the cartilage gun, which provides the opportunity to inject this gel into the tissue without surgery, together with the biomaterial hydrogel.

These companies, founded by young entrepreneurs and scientists, are producing the impossible. This week’s guest of Istanbul Ticaret is Nanortopedi A.Ş., which has developed a unique 3D tissue printer (bioprinter) that unrivaled in the world.


Nanortopedi A.Ş., which was accepted to Technopark Istanbul with the project of “Bioprinter Production that Can Produce Tissue Skeletons That Can Imitate Cartilage and Bone Tissues”, was presented by orthopedist Prof. Dr. Mahir Mahiroğulları.

The company was founded  in January 2017 by Prof. Mahiroğulları and three R&D engineers are working on productions that will be the first and only for the world. Turkey will have produced a unique bioprinter device within 18 months. Material and metallurgical engineer Necdet Ergül answered the questions of Istanbul Ticaret newspaper

What is Turkey’s situation in the world for biomaterials and tissue production?

Turkey is doing very serious work in this field. Aorta-like tissue was produced at Marmara University Nanotechnology and Biomaterials Application Research Center. It is very important to be able to produce a structure smaller than 100 nanometers. We have a long way to go in terms of commercialization.

Are implants being replaced by tissues produced in a 3D printer?

It has become very popular to produce tissue scaffolds this way. Today, scientists are looking for tissues with high biocompatibility and high degradability in the body instead of implants.


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