Science is and has always been extremely important for the development of human societies and life itself, simply because it allows us to describe, investigate, and ultimately understand—as much as possible—the world in which we live and how it works. By increasing our understanding of the world (and worlds beyond) we are able to identify and potentially protect endangered species, define how natural phenomena occur, cure diseases, define causes of climate change, and improve the quality of life for people, just to name a few positive results. That makes science probably the only discipline in which theories are validated against practical experiment. Some might even argue about the term discipline and suggest that science is an art—the art of discovery, for that matter. Thus it is capable of making models that let scientists and engineers build new things and sometimes predict effects of events that affect mankind or even predict the future. And while the importance of science in our daily lives may not always be obvious, we actually make countless science-based choices each day that help us improve or maintain our health and well-being. The constant progress made in various scientific fields can be traced to the fact that scientists around the world make new discoveries all the time, on a daily basis, and 2015 was no exception. These are the 25 Most Fascinating Scientific Discoveries of 2015.
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FaceDirector software generated desired performances in post-production, avoiding reshoots
Disney Research unveiled FaceDirector, a new method of synthesizing an actor’s facial performances in post-production to get just the right emotion instead of reshooting the scene multiple times. In other words, better acting without the actors having to try too hard.
Stem cell scientists redefined how blood is made, toppling conventional “textbook” view from the 1960s
Stem cell scientists at the University Health Network identified an entirely new “two tier” process of how blood is made, overturning decades of established science. The researchers claim their finding could lead to radically improved and personalized treatments for blood disorders.
Destructive disease showed potential as a cancer treatment
Scientists achieved a breakthrough in finding a general cure for cancer by attaching malaria proteins to cancer cells, which appears effective on ninety percent of cancers. Human trials are expected to begin within four years.
New humanlike species discovered in South Africa
Last September paleontologists reported a new humanlike species, Homo naledi, based on the discovery of fifteen partial skeletons, the largest single find of its type in Africa. It is believed that H. naledi could have lived in Africa up to three million years ago and were capable of ritualistic behavior. Although the discoverers claim the bones represent a new species of early humans, other experts contend that more evidence is needed before such a claim can be justified.
Study shows that working longer hours increases stroke risk
According to a study published in The Lancet, people working a fifty-five-hour week have a thirty-three percent increased risk of stroke than those working a thirty-five- to forty-hour week, along with a thirteen percent increased risk of coronary heart disease.