2.9k voters

The Greatest Scientific Breakthroughs Of 2017

Updated January 3, 2019 11.3k votes 2.9k voters 118.0k views12 items

List RulesVote up the most significant scientific discoveries of 2017

Every year, the brilliant minds of science are making new discoveries that inspire us to learn more about our natural surroundings from everything microscopic to outer space. Thanks to the world's best scientists and researchers, these scientific breakthroughs of 2017 push the boundaries of what we thought we already knew about life on Earth. If you're curious about our progress in science, check out the list of scientific breakthroughs in 2016 and this list of 2018 scientific breakthroughs, and the scientific breakthroughs of 2019.

These 2017 scientific discoveries are not only educational and informative, but they are also surprisingly amazing! If you want to catch up with this year's breakthroughs in science, this list has it all, including photos, videos, and other detailed info. 

Ready to fill your brain with the latest science news? Start reading this list of the biggest discoveries in science and tech of 2017! 

  • 1

    Gravitational Waves Prove Einstein's Theory Of General Relativity

    Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity states that space and time are unified into one continuum: space-time. Objects in the universe, no matter their size, warp space-time as they move, creating ripples known as gravitational waves.

    Until recently, however, that theory was just that: a theory. But new technological advancements allow astrophysicists to measure the massive gravitational waves created by huge objects in deep space. Usually these come from black holes and neutron stars millions and millions of light years away, so their waves are incredibly faint by the time they reach Earth.

    In September 2017, gravitational waves were detected by three separate observatories at once. With all that data, scientists are better able to pinpoint where the waves are coming from, and learn more about them and the universe at large. Better yet, it proves the existence of gravitational waves – and therefore space-time – once and for all.

      Truly significant?
    • 2

      Scientists In The US Edited A Human Embryo For The First Time

      Photo: Telemachus / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

      US scientists successfully edited the DNA of a viable human embryo for the first time ever using a powerful gene-editing tool called CRISPR. Scientists used the tool to correct a genetic mutation that causes a heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in embryos that were developed but not implanted. Similar research in China was also successful a few years ago.

      While this proves scientists can go in and effectively "edit" a human baby for good and bad genes, the new discovery probably won't be available for every expectant mother. The research is very controversial, and so far the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine said they only want the CRISPR to be used to elimate serious diseases. 

        Truly significant?
      • 3

        Scientists One Step Closer To Growing Human Organs In Pigs

        Photo: Belanescu Dan / flickr / CC-BY 2.0

        Scientists at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, CA, said they're one step closer to being able to grow human organs inside pigs. In their latest research they were able to grow human cells inside pig embryos, a small but promising step toward organ growth.

        But why would anyone want this research done in the first place? Scientists say it could help with studying disease and help develop different drugs. It could be a way to help with human organ donation. 

          Truly significant?
        • 4

          New Invention Pulls Water Out Of Thin Air

          Researchers at MIT and University of California, Berkeley figured out how to pull water out of thin air. Scientists developed a device that pulls water out of the air in weather conditions where there's as low as 20% humidity. It's a solar-powered device that uses a metal-organic framework made of zirconium and fumarate to suck water vapor out of the air. 

          The prototype was able to pull three quarts of water in 12 hours while sitting in an area that had 20% to 30% humidity. 

          Scientists believe this could be revolutionary to areas where there's little access to clean water, including many areas in Africa. 

            Truly significant?