It is safe to say that 2020 was certainly a year like no other.
In the span of 12 months, the “Year of COVID” brought enough newsworthy events to fill a novel - and left the world eager to jump into the new year.
The numerous breakthroughs in the fields of science and technology were no exception to the many “firsts” of 2020. From the historic spacecraft landing on an asteroid to the development of vaccines for COVID-19, scientists and researchers continued to propel forwards into the future of sciences.
The strides taken in space exploration helped round off the start of the decade with a bang. At the beginning of the year, scientists took one step closer to the largest star in our solar system with a series of new images of the sun’s surface.
Back on Earth, cheers went around NASA to celebrate a historic moment - astronaut Christina Koch arriving from her record-breaking 328 days in space.
Meanwhile, SpaceX made history as the first private company to send astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS), which coincidentally celebrated its 20th birthday this year.
Scientists also made groundbreaking findings lightyears away from Earth. They discovered possibilities of life on Venus and even captured a plasma bubble on Uranus. And one of the most significant discoveries of 2020 was made by Nobel Prize-winning scientists who explored what may be a supermassive black hole!
Diseases and Medicines
Coronavirus was undeniably the force that shaped much of the year’s research and development in medicine. Right from when the disease was first identified and declared a global health emergency, scientists worked tirelessly to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and develop vaccines. The culprits were found to be bats.
Meanwhile, over the year, people adopted a new lifestyle of washing hands frequently and social distancing that gave way to new methods of “no-touch” greetings and even robot replacements for many human jobs. During this time, countries invested billions of dollars into the research of the symptoms of COVID-19 and the development of a vaccine.
Although capping the spread of the coronavirus was a top priority for scientists and medical professionals around the world, that did not hinder their efforts to battle other diseases. Over the course of the year, researchers developed a new way to fight mosquito-borne diseases, used an AI to discover a new antibiotic, and completely eradicated Wild Polio from Africa!
The Technology World
It is evident that the past year’s advancements in technology had a considerable impact on our everyday lives and helped push the world further towards a “cyber future”.
The annual Consumer Electronics Show kicked off 2020 with a display of new, cutting-edge technologies from companies such as Samsung and LG. Other companies like Apple and Google continued the innovative streak with the development of a new app to track COVID-19.
Later, the two tech giants hit the headlines again, but in a more controversial way. Apple was the focus of a debate over technology privacy and it later banned Fortnite from its App Store. Meanwhile, Google fell under the spotlight after it became the target of a federal lawsuit.
As always, there was no shortage of innovations of futuristic technologies - from the development of a chip for your brain to a superspeed hyperloop. Amazon even pioneered a new technology where you can scan your palm to pay, which seems like it is straight out of the future!
The abundance of scientific discoveries proved that although 2020 was an unforgettable year for all the wrong reasons, there was a silver lining that shone some hope and positivity on the world.