2010’s Greatest Scientific Breakthroughs

It’s been a year of technological wonders and scientific breakthroughs.  In 2009 we were living in a world devoid of flying cars and with antimatter being completely useless for virtually any practical purposes.  Teleportation was still a theory, and the idea of life on other planets was a far off fantasy.  But now the world of 2010 is very different, with more promises for change in the near future.

Teleportation may have been labeled the greatest breakthrough for physicists of the year 2010, but there have been many other breakthroughs that may prove just as world changing in the coming years.  Just this year the record for quantum teleportation was shattered by scientists working in China.  Though we haven’t yet been able to teleport large objects, the ability to teleport matter over vast distances may already have some applications in communication.  And with time those applications will only improve.

And one of the greatest staples of modern technology and the world of tomorrow has always been the flying car.  And now thanks to Terrafugia‘s announcement earlier this year we will not only be seeing flying cars, but they will be used in the military as well.

Life on other planets may not have been discovered just yet, but the discovery of amino acids collected from space rocks earlier this month suggests that life is not only possible in other places, but could develop several different ways.  The discovery of an arsenic based life form suggests that life could take any number of forms rather than just the ones we’re used to on the greater portion of Earth.  And with water on the moon being apparently far more abundant than once suspected, we may be finding life on other planets hospitable to life sooner than we think.

This year has had many technological achievements, and also a few blunders.  Robotics, while skyrocketing thanks to the efforts of companies like Honda and others, there are still many kinks to get through in even the most advanced systems.  And as the decade passes with advanced robots failing to become a household item, many are still waiting for this integral step to a futuristic world.  The next best thing would have to be cybernetics which have made considerable strides in blurring the line between man and machine.  With computer chip controlled creatures, many ethical questions have been raised in our exploration of future ethical dilemmas.  Energy has likewise remained depressingly static.  Though scientists have created fusion reactions, none of these reactions have been able to create more energy than they consume.

Perhaps the most interesting technology, however, is also one of the least covered.  With the newfound ability to hold antimatter into place, there is the potential to use this incredibly powerful anti-element more than was ever previously thought possible.  If we were able to capture and store antimatter using the magnetic techniques developed this year, we could not only create power sources far more abundant than thought previously possible, but even perhaps travel the stars in our never-ending search for life.  But even if it could be used as a powerful tool for exploration, we need only look at the way flying cars are being developed as weapons to realize that these new technologies can be used as powerful weapons of war as well.