Here are some of the remarkable scientific achievements of 2015:
- Most extensive and complete facial transplant ever: A fireman in the U.S received a complete facial transplant after having undergone several years of surgeries that left him disfigured. The transplant was a success and the recipient is expected to regain speech and facial control within a year.
- Paraplegic patient walks again: A young man who suffered a spinal injury is given the ability to walk again through the use of brain-computer interface technology.
- Flowing water found on Mars: Liquid water was found on the surface of Mars, discovered through the analysis of countless satellite images of the red planet.
- New ancient species of human discovered: The fossilised bones of Homo naledi, a previously unknown species of human ancestor, were found deep inside a cave in South Africa. 15 bodies were found together suggesting the site is some type of graveyard.
- New subatomic particle detected: Speculated on for years without evidence, the Pentaquark was detected by the large hadron collider in 2015. It is believed that the discovery will shed light on the mysteries of neutron stars, with the discovery having application for many areas within quantum physics.
- Earth 2.0 discovered by astronomers: Kepler-440b, a planet similar to yet bigger than Earth lies within the ‘habitable zone’ of Kepler-440, considered habitable due to the likeliness of water existing on the surface. The ‘super-earth’ (planet with larger mass than Earth’s) is some 850 light years away.
- Medical scientists grow human vocal chords: Using donated vocal fold cells doctors have been able to grow vocal chords from scratch. Tests have found that the grown organ is able to make sounds matching that of human sounds and were able to be implanted in mice without immune system rejection.
- 3D Printed human implants: 2015 saw the first surgical procedures for the implantation of 3D printed parts in humans. In Spain a man was fitted with a 3D printed sternum and ribs, in the Netherlands a woman was fitted with a 3D printed jawbone and in Australia a man received a new 3D printed a heel bone.