Can We Enter Multiple If Condition In An If Formula Top 10 Hottest Topics in Science Research 2012

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Top 10 Hottest Topics in Science Research 2012

1. Look for the “God Particle” – the Higgs Boson

OK, so we’ve all seen Brian Cox wowing audiences with his silver tongue on the BBC and hinting at the search for the God particle – aka the Higgs boson. So what exactly is this “god particle” and when it is finally discovered, what will change?

The Higgs boson is a hypothetical elementary particle whose existence is predicted by the Standard Model of particle physics, and whose existence explains, in simple terms, why fundamental particles such as quarks and electrons have mass. The American experimental physicist and Nobel laureate Leon Lederman nicknamed the particle the “God Particle” because of the particle’s crucial role in the fundamental workings of 21st century physics, along with its astonishing elusiveness.

Physicists have longed to catch a glimpse of the particle for years, so they spent $10 billion on CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, a particle accelerator near Geneva, Switzerland. After years of struggling, they finally seem to be close to finding the “hell” particle (so nicknamed by some physicists because they tend to pull their hair out in frustration trying to catch it), and in December 2011 there was a flurry of activity at CERN as a collection of Data resembling the Higgs boson. If future data, planned to be collected later this year, confirm last December’s finding, the capture of the Higgs is likely to be considered one of the great discoveries of the 21st century.

2. Ultimate anti-aging cream

The holy grail of cosmetics; the mythical fountain of youth – now it seems likely that we are close to discovering the ultimate anti-aging formula. Well, maybe not; but at least there is a theoretical basis for medical gene therapy to slow and reverse the aging process and to influence the processes of diseases such as cancer.

Harvard Medical School researchers have discovered a genetic mechanism that allows them to artificially age and then rejuvenate laboratory mice. Thus, it is theoretically possible to reverse some of the effects of the aging process in mammals. They accomplished this by creating a genetic switch in a gene that controls the expression of telomerase, an enzyme that controls the repair of telomeres (repetitive strands of DNA that protect the ends of chromosomes) that are critical in the aging process. be associated with cancer. These studies may lead to significant advances in the treatment of diseases such as malignant tumors and age-related diseases in the future.

3. So time travel is possible?

Maybe, but unlikely in the opinion of most of the physics community. In September 2011, scientists from the OPERA collaboration caused a stir in the scientific community when they announced that they had measured neutrinos (tiny subatomic particles) that appeared to travel faster than the speed of light. Poor Einstein would turn in his grave at the news; this would not only violate his theory of special relativity, but also shake the foundations of theoretical physics.

However, most of the scientific community is skeptical of the results and suggests that there must be some deviation in the findings. Physicists are now trying to independently repeat the experiment this year; which involves shooting neutrinos at a detector hundreds of miles away and measuring the time it takes to travel. After repetition, and depending on the results, the physicists breathe a sigh of relief or enter a phase of mass group hysteria; adding new meaning to the term “uncertainty” in science.

4. Look for extrasolar planets in the Golden Fleece zone

Everyone is talking about it – in the press, in the media and whenever possible on television – “are we alone?” The hunt for planets outside our solar system that could support life took a leap forward last December when astronomers at NASA’s Ames Research Center announced they had found the best candidate yet for a planet outside our solar system that could potentially support life. .

The planet, affectionately named Kepler-22b after the telescope with which it was first spotted, is in the middle of its star’s proposed habitable zone – the “goldilocks zone”. While not much is known about the planet’s composition (it’s 600 light-years away, it’s 3.5 x 1015 miles), it’s 2.4 times the size of Earth and orbits its sun every 290 days. If it has a surface, scientists think the surface temperature will be somewhere around 210°C – ideal for life.

The search continues, and one day we may indeed find the perfect extrasolar planet—a planet with life (detected by the presence of oxygen and other byproducts of life in the atmosphere); the problem is getting there or even saying hello.

5. Human stem cell research

The use of human embryos as a source of stem cells is still highly controversial, but in recent years scientists have finally solved the problem and can now produce almost unlimited amounts of stem cells in the laboratory without destroying the embryos. This limitless supply has opened the floodgates to stem cell research, allowing researchers to develop novel treatments for conditions such as blindness and Parkinson’s disease to effectively treat spinal cord injuries.

Stem cells are found in all multicellular organisms and can divide and differentiate into many different specialized cell types, which is actually a “wildcard” cell. When they are introduced into the human body, they tend to become the cells that surround them. This has wide-ranging implications for medicine and research is currently being done worldwide to find effective treatments for conditions such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (which is of particular importance here in Ireland as Prof. Orla Hardiman of Beaumont Hospital is regarded as one of the world’s leading researchers in the field), heart damage following a heart attack , blindness, deafness, skin conditions, arthritis, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s to name a few. Watch this space; this is the future of medicine.

6. Quantum computer

The revolution in quantum physics may soon pay off with the advent of quantum computers, a term that has been bandied about for a few years. The promise of ultra-fast computers that can perform certain calculations billions of times faster than any silicon-based computer and may even surpass the human brain in raw computing power may not be too far off. Late last year, another milestone was reached in the race to develop the first practical quantum computer, when a team at the University of Bristol’s Center for Quantum Photonics developed a microchip that manipulates and measures entanglement and entanglement, two quantum phenomena that are fundamental principles of quantum computing. .

The main potential applications of quantum computers are cryptography and communications; however, the potential to develop the first artificial intelligence is now within reach of reality.

7. Can arsenic really be the building block of life?

The element Arsenic, historically dubbed the poison of kings due to its popularity as a mutually destructive poison for the ruling classes, is highly toxic to all known life on Earth, or so we thought for a few years. back.

NASA scientists have discovered a new microbe in hostile Mono Lake in the US that uses the deadly poison arsenic instead of phosphorus as a component of its biochemical machinery, shaking up what scientists have traditionally thought of as the biochemistry of life.

Traditionally, the six basic building blocks of all life on Earth were carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, sulfur, and phosphorus, with a dusting of trace elements thrown into the mix. According to a new discovery, arsenic replaces phosphorus as the structural backbone of microbial DNA, paving the way for a change in how scientists view the possibilities of life in once-thought hostile environments. If a microbe can add a deadly poison to its biochemical processes, that means no other organisms can exist in the most hostile parts of the Solar System using elements we consider toxic in their fundamental biochemistry.

8. What about the current weather?

It’s hard for any of us (anyone over thirty, that is) to ignore the subtle change in weather patterns over the last twenty years. But on a more serious note, recent evidence from climate scientists has revealed a worrying trend – the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets are melting faster than ever thought, making them the single biggest contributors to sea level rise.

A nearly twenty-year study found that in 2006, the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets lost a combined 475 gigatons (one billion tons) per year, and the rate of loss accelerated rapidly over the year. study period. They predict that at current melting rates, global sea levels could rise by 32 cm (more than 1 foot) by 2050. With the ever-increasing power of supercomputers, climatologists and meteorologists are busy modeling changing weather patterns to see how the reality of global warming will affect the environment of the future, meaning the near future.

9. Now we become a great architect

Over the past decade, one of the outputs of several genome projects has been an intimate knowledge of how DNA base pairs join together to form life. It challenged geneticist J. Craig Venter, one of the main contributors to the Human Genome Project, to put his architectural skills to work in an attempt to create synthetic life. In 2010, he succeeded in creating life in the laboratory by splicing the 582,000 base pairs needed for the complete genome of a new bacterium that was proposed to be named Mycoplasma laboratorium. This paves the way for the genetic engineering of bacteria for tasks such as the production of biopharmaceuticals and biofuels. Who knows, we may even create bacteria designed to kill other bacteria.

10. Medicines created just for you

Personalized medicine, or pharmacogenomics for the geeks among us, is quickly becoming one of the hottest research areas in therapeutic medicine, promising more effective treatments for a variety of debilitating and terminal conditions. Personalized medicine is based on the premise that drugs work differently in different people due to genetic variation. With the advent of the Human Genome Project and the revolution in diagnostic testing, scientists can now tailor drug regimens to individuals with great precision, greatly increasing the effectiveness of treatment.

The most notable application of personalized medicine is in cancer treatment – ​​instead of treating cancer with a “one-size-fits-all” approach to chemotherapy, doctors can identify the genetic basis of a tumor and design a treatment plan. based on that. The cost of diagnostic testing and the lack of current drugs currently prevent the widespread use of personalized medicine, but a number of new biopharmaceutical treatments are coming to market in the coming years, the culmination of more than thirty years of research. declaring the field of pharmacogenomics into mainstream medicine.

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