Science, as it is taught in our classrooms can be boring sometimes. A student going through a chapter of Periodic Table in a dim classroom with a not that interested teacher does not get to know the universe of possibilities that lies in front of them in the form of 118 elements.
This post tries to awaken that interest and feeling of amazement about what science can accomplish. Students these days have not much to be excited about in education due to the meritocratic society that we live in, but articles like these aim to rekindle that ember of curiosity and interest in students. When things are learnt, with the objective of education being to satisfy curiosity and increasing the mental stimulation they make more of an impact on the scholars.
So let’s get on with it and browse through some modern day achievements of science that have contributed to making our life on this blue sphere more fruitful and easier:-
Doctors practicing in Philadelphia and New York have discovered a procedure to take control over the T-cells or the cells that do all the killing for our immune system.
The doctors discovered that with the help of a virus they can program these T cells with new DNA instructions to attack a specific group of cells. It has been successfully used to treat Leukemia and many other diseases having their roots in the blood.
Earlier these engineered T cells needed to be from the same person but some of the patients that are small children do not have enough of these T- Cells and now the scientists have devised a method through which they can program a different humans T cells to be compatible with everyone creating a universal donor concept.
Precise Gene Editing in Flora
Science has found out a way to edit the genes of plants to help them defend themselves against diseases and droughts. The resultant plants do not show the presence of any foreign DNA excluding them from the GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) classification.
The technology named as CRISPR is helping scientists modify plants and such plants are thriving in a greenhouse environment throughout the world. Some of the frontrunners of this technology are wheat that’s fungus resistant, rice modified for higher yields and barley that can survive a drought. If the technology is refined and is applied at a production level it would help sidestep the extremely difficult regulatory process that is followed with GMO plants.
Interfacing through conversation – Speech Technology
Baidu, the Chinese search engine is advancing speech technology and the process of interfacing through voice to have a more useful and practical application. Voice interfacing has been becoming more popular throughout the previous years by machine learning taking it to new heights.
Developments like these are making us hopeful for a future where learning how a new device functions will not be necessary as the interface would be controlled by voice commands. Baidu has revealed last November that the Chinese Silicon Valley labs have developed an extremely potent speech recognition system named Deep Speech 2.
According to them it boasts of a huge neural network that learns by associating phrases and words with sounds. Sometimes this system has performed better than humans when transcribing Mandarin. Taking into account how difficult Mandarin is phonetically this feat is really impressive.
Rockets that can be reused! – SpaceX and Blue Origin
Humans have come a long way from just sending rockets up in space and now the technology has progressed to the level that they are returning back too. The recent landings of such rockets look like their launches played in rewind, with the rocket landing on a pad constantly firing its engines to control the descent.
Space flights in future have a possibility of becoming up to hundred times cheaper if this technology is mastered. Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are the two tech billionaires making it happen. Both their companies, Blue Origin and SpaceX have contradistinct uses of this technology, the former using it to propel tourists in space and the latter as an open platform for putting satellites in space.
Robots sharing knowledge amongst themselves
Robotic technology has not yet been able to reach that level of development where they can interact with our material world. Humans throughout their childhood have gone through an enormous data collection process in which they have learnt and updated that info through various encounters with the material world.
Robots till now have had no such technology assisting them to store and then have the consciousness or intelligence to link new information to that earlier learn data. To create such a technology that helps these robots to do our routine tasks the scientists researching day and night.
Doing something like this can be a possibility as all the research robots use a standard framework of programming called the ROS. The machine that learns how to do a task can pass on the data to other machines and if those machines while carrying out the same task discover a refinement in the process they can send the details back to the original.
Right now, this technology is limited to mechanical robots but with some years of research and development it’s not difficult to imagine robots learning from each other and being a part of our future society.
These technological advancements that are a resultant of various scientific discoveries will help not only in solving several problems that plague us now but also in opening up new horizons of opportunity and advancement.
Reading how science has brought us to this cusp of technological advancements, students ranging from a CBSE school in Delhi to The New York University will have something to look forward to and take interest in science due to.