2015 in science

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List of years in science (table)
  • 2012
  • 2013
  • 2014
  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • A number of significant scientific events occurred in 2015. Gene editing based on CRISPR got significantly improved. A new human-like species, Homo naledi, was first described. Gravitational waves were observed for the first time (announced publicly in 2016), and dwarf planets Pluto and Ceres were visited by spacecrafts for the first time. The United Nations declared 2015 the International Year of Soils and Light-based Technologies.[1]

    Events[edit]

    January[edit]

    • 2 January – A study published in Science shows evidence that a protein partially assembles another protein without genetic instructions. Defying textbook science, amino acids (the building blocks of a protein) can be assembled by another protein and without genetic instructions.[2]
    5 January: Detection of an unusually bright X-Ray flare from Sagittarius A*, a supermassive black hole in the center of the Milky Way galaxy.[3]
    19 January: Ceres, a dwarf planet, as viewed by the Dawn spacecraft on 19 February 2015.[31]
    28 January: Ingredient in green tea found that may protect against oral cancer.[45]
      • As part of the Open Worm Project, scientists have mapped the brain of a roundworm (C. elegans), created software to mimic its nervous system and uploaded it to a lego robot, which seeks food and avoids obstacles.[46]
    • 23 January
      • Scientists have slowed the speed of light by using a special mask to change the shape of photons.[47]
      • With a successful new method, Iranian scientists managed to create a graphene-based gas sensor, which has uses in many industries to detect oxygen.[48]
    • 25 January – A new owl species in the Middle East, the desert tawny owl (Strix hadorami), is described.[49]
    • 26 January
      • Chemists determine that alkali metals explode on contact with water due to a Coulomb explosion at the water-metal interface driving the reaction, instead of merely due to Hydrogen gas formation and its subsequent ignition. This overturns what was previously considered to be a well understood phenomenon, and has the potential to increase safety when handling reactive metals.[50]
      • Iranian nanotechnologists drafted and constructed solar cells for transforming solar energy into electricity.[51]
    • 27 January
    • 28 January – An ingredient found in green tea may protect against oral cancer, according to Penn State University researchers.[45]
    • 29 January – Global warming will result in large storms becoming larger, rather than an increase in the number of storms, concludes a study by the University of Toronto.[55]
    • 30 January – A joint study of data from the Planck space mission and the ground-based experiment BICEP2 casts doubt on earlier findings of gravitational waves from the Big Bang.[56][57]
    • 31 January – NASA launches the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) observatory. It will provide the most accurate, highest-resolution global measurements of soil moisture ever obtained from space.

    February[edit]

    10 February: "Smiley" image of galaxy cluster (SDSS J1038+4849) and gravitational lensing (an Einstein ring) (HST).[58]
    20 February: An Anopheles stephensi mosquito, a vector of malaria - mosquito control is an effective way of reducing its incidence.

    March[edit]

    2 March: Light imaged as both a particle and a wave.
    12 March: Aurorae on Ganymede, largest moon of planet Jupiter – auroral belt shifting may indicate a subsurface saline ocean.
    19 March: Supernova remnant ejecta producing planet-forming material.
    • 17 March – Lava tubes big enough to house entire cities could be structurally stable on the moon, according to a theoretical study presented at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference.[128]
    • 18 March
      • NASA reports the detection of an aurora that is not fully understood and an unexplained dust cloud in the atmosphere of the planet Mars.[129]
      • A 30-year land-based study of the Amazon, the most extensive ever conducted, shows the rainforest is gradually losing its ability to absorb carbon from the atmosphere, as trees die at faster and faster rates.[130][131]
    • 19 March
      • The National Snow and Ice Data Center reports that Arctic sea ice reached its lowest ever maximum extent.[132]
      • Using data from SOFIA, it is discovered that planets may be formed from supernova remnant ejecta.[133]
      • Scientists report on a genetic modification that can spread much quicker than conventional genetics would allow, copying itself to other chromosomes with CRISPRs. Possible applications include malaria-resistant mosquitos.[134]
      • Scientists, including an inventor of CRISPR, urge a worldwide moratorium on using gene editing methods to genetically engineer the human genome in a way that can be inherited, writing "scientists should avoid even attempting, in lax jurisdictions, germline genome modification for clinical application in humans" until the full implications "are discussed among scientific and governmental organizations."[135][136][137]
    • 20 March – A total solar eclipse occurs, visible over much of Europe.[138]
    • 22 March – DNA from the extinct woolly mammoth is spliced into that of an elephant and shown to be functional for the first time.[139]
    • 24 March
    • 25 March
      • A new technique has successfully entangled 3,000 atoms using only a single photon, the largest number of particles that have ever been mutually entangled experimentally.[144]
    10 April: Artist's restoration of Titanis walleri, an extinct eight-foot tall carnivorous flightless bird also known as a "terror bird".
      • Iranian researchers reduce costly materials from diabetes diagnosis sensors. They devised and created a non-enzyme biosensor at the laboratorial scale to notice diabetes.[145]
    • 26 March
      • The ice around the edge of Antarctica is melting faster than previously thought, researchers have warned.[146]
      • A nanoparticle therapy has been shown to accelerate the healing of wounds by 50 percent.[147]
    • 30 March
      • A 1,000-year-old treatment for eye infections – containing onion, garlic and part of a cow's stomach – has been shown to completely wipe out Staphylococcus aureus, the antibiotic-resistant superbug known as MRSA.[148]
      • Eating pesticide-laden foods is linked to remarkably low sperm count (49% lower), say Harvard scientists in a landmark new study connecting pesticide residues in fruits and vegetables to reproductive health.[149][150]
      • Scientists have developed tiny 'nanoneedles' that successfully prompted parts of mice bodies to generate new blood vessels. It is hoped this technique could ultimately help damaged organs and nerves to repair themselves and help transplanted organs to thrive.[151]

    April[edit]

    • 1 April – New research reveals that, as the Arctic region warms and melts, polar bears forced ashore will be unable to gain sufficient food on land.[152] Two-thirds of polar bears could be lost by 2050 and the species could be extinct by 2100.[153]
    • 2 April – Northwestern Medicine scientists identify a small RNA molecule called miR-182 that can suppress cancer-causing genes in mice with glioblastoma mulitforme (GBM), a deadly and incurable type of brain tumor.[154]
    • 4 April – A total lunar eclipse occurs.
    • 5 April – The Large Hadron Collider resumes operations after a two-year technology upgrade and various maintenance delays.[155]
    • 6 April – Glaciers in Western Canada will lose 70 percent of their volume by 2100, according to a study by the University of British Columbia.[156][157]
    • 7 April – Scientists from Iran research on a new method to let users to scan 3D photos with only their smartphone. The result was published in a media titled Nanophotonic coherent imager in the February 2015 issue of Optics Express.[158]
    • 8 April
      • DARPA announces a new project that aims to create a computer program able to continuously scan its environment, evolving and adapting autonomously for the next 100 years.[159]
      • Complex organic molecules have been detected in a young star system for the first time.[160]
      • Iranian researchers make magnetic recyclable photo-catalyst to refine dirty water.[161]
    14 April: Pluto and moon Charon - first color image from the New Horizons spacecraft mission (Ralph camera; 9 April 2015).[162][163]
    • 9 April – Iranian researchers apply ultrasound waves to create Fullerene. This approach is in agreeing with green chemistry basics and it is biocompatible.[164]
    • 10 April – An almost completely intact skeleton of a terror bird is found in Argentina. Analysis suggests these predators had good low-frequency hearing and deep voices.[165]
    • 13 April – The U.S. Federal Communications Commission publishes the final rule on its new "Net Neutrality" regulations.[166]
    • 14 April
    • 15 April
      • Following groundbreaking studies on mice, American scientists claim to have found a potential cause of Alzheimer's disease in the behaviour of immune cells, which it may be possible to target with drug treatments.[172][173]
      • Researchers uncover evidence of a cannibalistic ritual that occurred in a British cave roughly 14,700 years ago.[174]
    • 16 April
      • A major advance in artificial photosynthesis is achieved with a system able to capture CO2 using solar energy and then use it to produce valuable chemical products.[175]
      • Modification of histones in the DNA of nematodes, fruit flies, and possibly humans can affect aging, researchers claim.[176]
      • Scientists say the first detailed kinematic study of octopus arm coordination in crawling show that the animals have a special system control tactic to fix their odd form.[177]
      • Iranian researchers have produced a type of nanocatalyst which improves the performance of fuel cells.[178]
    • 17 April – Bouvier's red colobus, a species of monkey last seen in the 1970s and thought to have been extinct, is rediscovered in the Republic of Congo.[179]
    • 20 April – Japan announces plans to send an unmanned lunar rover to the Moon's surface in 2018.[180]
    • 21 April
      • The Japanese L0 Series maglev becomes the first train to operate at a speed of 600 kilometres per hour (370 mph).[181]
      • Researchers demonstrate WiFiFO (WiFi Free space Optic), a technology capable of increasing the bandwidth of WiFi systems tenfold, using optical data transmission via LED lights.[182]
    22 April: It is confirmed that Chinese scientists have genetically modified human embryos.
    • 22 April
    • 23 April
      • Two huge magma chambers have been imaged in 3D below Yellowstone National Park.[186]
      • For the first time, signals relating to the constant ringing noise of tinnitus have been mapped across the brain of a patient undergoing surgery.[187]
      • An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth.[188]
      • Researchers at the University of Toronto in Canada have developed a new algorithm for showing protein structures in 3D, based on 2D images, which is 100,000 times faster than current methods.[189]
      • A new gene-editing technique is reported that could prevent mitochondrial diseases, without the need for three-parent IVF.[190]
    • 27 April – Archaeologists discover fossil remnants of an ancient human species, dating from roughly 430,000 years ago, in two sites in Italy.[191]
    • 28 April
      • A study from Arizona State University reveals the action of an experimental blood pressure drug in unprecedented detail, potentially aiding the development of new and better drugs.[192]
      • British and American psychologists claimed persecuting in schooldays result to at least mental health difficulties in adulthood.[193]
    29 April: The World Health Organization (WHO) declares that rubella has been eradicated from the Americas.
    • 29 April
      • Scientists report finding a scansoriopterygid dinosaur, named Yi qi ("strange wing"), that may have flown without feathers.[194][195]
      • The World Health Organization (WHO) declares that rubella has been eradicated from the Americas.[196][197]
      • Two critical steps towards a practical quantum computer are achieved by IBM scientists, who demonstrate the ability to detect and measure both kinds of quantum errors simultaneously, as well as building a new, square quantum bit circuit design that is the only physical architecture that could successfully scale to larger dimensions.[198]
    • 30 April
      • NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft concludes its four-year orbital mission over Mercury by crashing into the planet at a velocity of approximately 14,080 km/h (8,750 mph), impacting at 54.4° N, 149.9° W, near the crater Janáček.[199][200]
      • Tesla Motors reveals a new large-scale battery technology for homes and businesses, which will provide a means of storing energy from localised renewables and a reliable backup system during power outages.[201][202]
      • Progeria researchers have shown how the disorganisation of DNA contributes to the cell disorder and is linked to aspects of aging.[203]

    May[edit]

    • 3 May – Astronomers report detection of a most distant galaxy, EGS-zs8-1, with an estimated distance of 13.1 billion light-years.[204][205]
    • 5 May
      • Researchers develop a centimetre-accurate GPS-based positioning system that could revolutionise geolocation on VR headsets, cellphones, drones and other technologies.[206]
      • Vehicle manufacturer Daimler announces that its Freightliner Inspiration Truck has become the world's first autonomous truck to be granted a license for road use in the state of Nevada.[207]
      • Archaeornithura meemannae, a new species of prehistoric bird that represents the oldest known member of the modern bird lineage, is discovered.[208]
    15 May: The Opah is confirmed as the first known warm-blooded fish.
    • 6 May
    • 12 May
      • The Australian Government's Bureau of Meteorology confirms that the tropical Pacific is in the early stages of an El Niño that is "likely to persist in the coming months."[216]
      • New evidence has been uncovered that global warming will damage wheat yields, resulting in a 15 percent loss when average temperatures increase by 2 degrees Celsius and a 40 percent decline when average temperatures rise by 4 degrees.[217]
    • 13 May – For the first time, the phase brightness variations in exoplanets have been measured to see the day-night cycle of exoplanetary weather dynamics.[218]
    • 14 May – Researchers confirm that strong warming is taking place in the upper troposphere, a phenomenon long predicted in global warming theory and climate models.[219]
    • 15 May
      • Larsen B and C, a pair of ice shelves in the Antarctic, are reportedly at risk of collapse in the near future, potentially adding several centimetres to global sea levels.[220]
      • Researchers have taken a step towards large-scale fabrication of graphene, using chemical vapor deposition to produce composites containing 2-inch-by-2-inch sheets of the material.[221]
      • The opah is confirmed as the first known "warm-blooded" fish, able to regulate the temperature of its entire body.[222]
    21 May: NASA reports that WISE J224607.57-052635.0 is the most luminous galaxy in the Universe. (artist's impression)
    • 18 May – Scientists have reactivated neuroplasticity in older mice, restoring their brains to a more youthful state.[223]
    • 19 May – Playing natural sounds such as flowing water in offices can boost worker moods and improve cognitive abilities, in addition to providing speech privacy, according to a new study.[224]
    • 20 May – NASA reports the Kepler space observatory observed KSN 2011b, a Type Ia supernova in the process of exploding: before, during and after. Details of the pre-nova moments may help scientists better understand dark energy.[225]
    • 21 May
      • NASA reports the most luminous galaxy yet discovered is galaxy WISE J224607.57-052635.0. Smaller than the Milky Way galaxy, this dusty galaxy releases 10,000 times more energy. Nearly 100 percent of the light emitted from galaxy WISE J224607.57-052635.0 is infrared radiation.[226][227] (image)
      • Scientists have observed a sudden increase of ice loss in a previously stable region of Antarctica. The ice loss is so large that it causes small changes in the gravity field of the Earth.[228]
    • 22 May – Researchers have developed algorithms that enable robots to learn motor tasks through trial and error using a process that more closely approximates the way humans learn, marking a major milestone in the field of artificial intelligence.[229]
    3 June: Reactivation of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
    • 25 May – A new technique to create a single-molecule diode has been developed by scientists, and, in doing so, they have developed molecular diodes that perform 50 times better than all prior designs.[230]
    • 27 May – Glacier volume in the Everest region of the Himalayas could be reduced between 70% and 99% by 2100, unless greenhouse gas emissions are curbed, according to a new study by the European Geosciences Union.[231]
    • 28 May – A new species of ancient hominid – Australopithecus deyiremeda – is uncovered in Ethiopia, with jaw bones and teeth dating to between 3.3m and 3.5m years old.[232]
    • 29 May
      • Researchers have developed a new shape-memory material that stays strong even after tens of millions of transformations.[233][234]
      • A new version of the Cheetah robot has been demonstrated with the ability to jump over obstacles while running.[235]
    • 30 May – A new treatment for lung cancer using a drug called nivolumab has been shown to more than double life expectancy in some patients.[236]

    June[edit]

    • 1 June – A new study has linked rapid Arctic ice loss to extreme weather changes in Europe and the US.[237]
    4 June: New temperature data suggests that global warming has not slowed.
    • 2 June
    • 3 June
      • The Large Hadron Collider is reactivated after a two-year pause, during which upgrades and repairs were taking place. The machine is now able to experiment with higher energies, increasing from 8 to 13 trillion electron volts (TeV).[244][245]
    • 4 June
      • Using new global surface temperature data, scientists at NOAA have shown that the rate of global warming in the last 15 years has not slowed, eliminating the "hiatus".[246][247]
      • For the first time, a computer intelligence without direct human help has produced a model of regeneration.[248]
      • Warming ocean temperatures and decreasing oxygen levels will significantly shift marine habitats in the future, according to a study by the University of Washington.[249]
      • Researchers have achieved a significant breakthrough in combating antibiotic resistance using phages.[250]
    8 June: Alga crater on Mars - detection of impact glass deposit - possible site for preserved ancient life.[251]
    • 8 June
      • NASA reports that impact glass has been detected on the planet Mars - such material may contain preserved signs of ancient life.[251] (related image)
      • May 2015 was the wettest month on record for the contiguous U.S. according to NOAA.[252]
      • Engineers at Stanford University have developed a state-by-state plan to convert the U.S. to 100% clean, renewable energy by 2050.[253]
    • 9 June – Researchers have discovered what appear to be the remnants of red blood cells and connective tissue in 75 million-year-old dinosaur fossils.[254]
    • 10 June – A woman in Belgium is the first in the world to give birth to a baby using transplanted ovarian tissue frozen when she was still a child, doctors say.[255]
    • 14 June – News reports announce that the Philae lander, part of the Rosetta space mission, on the comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, has woken up from hibernation and is communicating with Earth.[256][257][258]
    • 15 June
      • Researchers have sequenced and assembled the first full genome of a living organism using technology the size of smartphone.[259]
      • A study published in the British Medical Journal finds that consuming up to 100g of chocolate every day is linked to lowered heart disease and stroke risk.[260]
    16 June: The eastern cougar is declared extinct.[261]
    • 16 June – The eastern cougar is declared extinct by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.[261]
    • 17 June
    • 18 June – By reactivating a single gene, colorectal cancer cells in mice stop growing and re-establish normal intestinal function within four days, according to a study published in the journal Cell.[265]
    • 19 June – A major study confirms that Earth is currently witnessing the start of a mass extinction event the likes of which have not been seen for at least 65 million years. It is being precipitated by human actions over the past 500 years.[266][267]
    • 20 June – A titanium 3D-printed prosthetic jaw is successfully implanted in a male patient by surgeons in Melbourne, Australia.[268]
    • 23 June – The Sentinel-2A Earth observation satellite is launched.
    • 24 June
      • Astronomers report the discovery of a brand new type of planet, resembling a giant comet. GJ 436b is a "warm Neptune" located 33 light years from Earth and features a huge cloud of gas trailing away from its parent red dwarf star.[269][270]
      • Researchers identify a protein on tiny particles, GPC1+ crExos, released by pancreatic cancer cells, which may help in detecting the illness at its earliest stage.[271][272]
    26 June: All large impact craters on Earth have been identified.[273]

    July[edit]

    9 July: Researchers led by IBM shrink transistors in computer chips to the 7nm scale.
    14 July: Pluto, dwarf planet, as viewed by the New Horizons spacecraft just before closest flyby.
    • 13 July – Researchers at the Large Hadron Collider report observing two exotic particles belonging to a new class, pentaquarks.[290][291][292]
    • 14 July
    • 16 July
    • 17 July – Nanowires are used by Dutch researchers to boost solar fuel cell efficiency tenfold, while using 10,000 times less precious material.[299]
    • 20 July
    • 21 July
      • The latest global analysis of temperature data from NOAA shows that the first half of 2015 was the hottest such period on record, at 0.85 °C (1.53 °F) above the 20th century average, surpassing the previous record set in 2010 by 0.09 °C (0.16 °F). The Earth also experienced its hottest ever June.[302][303]
      • Men who become fathers experience weight gain and an increase in body mass index according to a new, large-scale study that tracked more than 10,000 men over a 20-year period. Men who didn't become dads actually lost weight over the same time period.[304]
      • A new computer program is the first to recognise sketches more accurately than a human.[305]
      • A potential new class of antibiotics based on modified sugar molecules is reported.[306]
    • 22 July
    • 23 July
      • NASA announces the discovery of Kepler-452b, a confirmed exoplanet that is near-Earth-size and found orbiting the habitable zone of a Sun-like star.[312]
      • A provocative new paper by climate scientists including James Hansen warns that future sea level rises may have been dramatically underestimated, and that even 2 °C of global warming is "highly dangerous".[313]
      • Intel and Micron unveil 3D XPoint, a new memory technology that is 1,000 times faster than NAND and 10 times denser than conventional DRAM.[314][315]
    • 24 July – The 133-million-year-old fossil of Tetrapodophis amplectus, the first four-legged snake to be found, is reported by paleontologists in Brazil.[316]
    • 29 July
      • The current world population of 7.3 billion is predicted to reach 8.5 billion by 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100, according to a new analysis of data by the UN.[317]
      • The first artificial ribosome is created, by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Northwestern University.[318]
    31 July: An ebola vaccine is found to be 100% successful in an initial trial.

    August[edit]

    3 August: Glacier loss worldwide is reported to be "unprecedented" and occurring faster than ever.
    • 3 August
      • Researchers have demonstrated that even if a geoengineering solution to CO2 emissions could be found, it would not be enough to save the oceans.[328][329]
      • A new comprehensive analysis of global glacier changes in the Journal of Glaciology concludes that melting rates are "unprecedented" and faster than ever.[330]
    • 4 August
      • The FDA approves Spritam, the first 3D-printed pill.[331]
      • Spicy foods are linked to increased longevity in a study published by the British Medical Journal.[332][333]
      • Plans are unveiled by Plymouth University for "Mayflower Autonomous Research Ship" (MARS), the world's first full-sized, fully autonomous unmanned ship to cross the Atlantic Ocean.[334]
      • The first ever genetic analysis of people with extremely high intelligence reveals small but important genetic differences between some of the brightest people in the United States and the general population.[335]
    • 5 August – Astronomers at the Keck Observatory announce a new record for the most distant galaxy ever observed. Known as EGSY8p7, its light needed 13.2 billion years to reach Earth.[336][337]
    • 6 August – The first known venomous frog species, Corythomantis greeningi and Aparasphenodon brunoi, are identified by researchers in Brazil.[338]
    • 10 August – By measuring the energy output from a large portion of the Universe with greater precision than ever before, astronomers have determined that the Universe is gradually fading across all wavelengths. In effect, the Universe is slowly dying.[339][340]
    19 August: Hydrogen-rich area detected at "Marias Pass" on Mars by the Curiosity rover.[341]
    • 13 August
      • An endangered species, the black-footed ferret, is successfully reproduced using frozen sperm from a ferret that had been dead for 20 years.[342]
      • By altering a single gene, phosphodiesterase-4B (PDE4B), researchers have increased the intelligence of mice, while decreasing their fear and anxiety. This raises hopes of better treatments for human cognitive disorders in the future.[343][344]
    • 17 August – Based on studies with the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft, NASA scientists report the detection of neon in the exosphere of the moon.[345]
    • 19 August
      • NASA reports that there is "no scientific basis" that the world will end due to a rumored impact of an asteroid near Puerto Rico between 15 and 28 September 2015.[346][347]
      • NASA scientists report that the Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN) instrument on the Curiosity rover detected an unusual hydrogen-rich area, at "Marias Pass," on Mars. The hydrogen found seems related to water or hydroxyl ions in rocks within three feet beneath the rover, according to the scientists.[341]
      • People working a 55-hour week have a 33% increased risk of stroke than those working a 35- to 40-hour week, along with a 13% increased risk of coronary heart disease, according to a study published in The Lancet.[348][349]
      • Researchers at George Washington University demonstrate a process that turns atmospheric carbon dioxide into carbon nanofibers.[350]
      • The Sumatran rhinoceros is declared extinct in the wild in Malaysia.[351]
      • Using stem cells, researchers have developed a miniature human brain in a dish with the equivalent maturity of a five-week-old fetus. It is believed this model – the most advanced of its kind ever created – could be used for better and more accurate testing of drugs.[352]
    24 August: A new way of "switching off" cancer cell growth, using the PLEKHA7 protein, is reported by the Mayo Clinic.
    • 20 August
      • July 2015 was the hottest month on Earth since records began in 1880, according to data from NOAA.[353][354]
      • A new report in the journal Science underscores the need for improved management and protection of boreal forests in response to global changes this century.[355][356]
    • 21 August
      • A new study published in Nature "removes any doubt" that rising levels of greenhouse gases were the primary driver of glacier retreat during the end of the last Ice Age.[357]
      • Giant galaxies with an absence of young stars are more suitable for habitable planets, researchers say.[358]
    • 24 August
      • A new way of "switching off" cancer cell growth, using the PLEKHA7 protein, is reported by the Mayo Clinic.[359]
      • Physicists achieve a breakthrough in fusion power, by containing superheated hydrogen plasma for five milliseconds, longer than any other effort before.[360]
    • 26 August – In a press briefing, NASA scientists warn that future sea level rise has been underestimated.[361][362]
    • 28 August – In a landmark study of scientific reproducibility published in Science, a group of 270 psychologists attempted to directly replicate 100 psychology studies from three top-tier psychological journals and found that about one-third to one-half of the original findings could be successfully reproduced.[363]
    • 31 August – Scientists claim to have discovered the first new human prion in almost 50 years.[364]

    September[edit]

    10 September: Scientists announce the discovery of Homo naledi, a previously unknown species of early human in South Africa.
    • 3 September
    • 7 September – A bright fireball over Thailand, believed to be a bolide, is seen in Bangkok and some other locations.[375]
    • 10 September
      • Paleontologists report a new human-like species, Homo naledi, based on the discovery of 15 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 behaviour.[376] 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.[377]
      • A report by scientists, ethicists and policy experts from the Hinxton Group states that research into genetically modified human embryos is "essential" and that GM babies could be "morally acceptable" in the future.[378]
    • 11 September
      • NASA releases the first clear images of Pluto's small moon Nix, showing rough edges and a prominent crater.[379]
      • A study by the British Psychological Society warns that constant pressure on teenagers to use social media technology causes lower sleep quality, lower self-esteem, higher anxiety and increased depression levels.[380]
      • Through DARPA, a 28-year-old paralysed man becomes the first person to feel physical sensations through a prosthetic hand directly connected to his brain.[381]
    • 13 September – A partial solar eclipse occurred.
    15 September: Global ocean found in Saturn's moon, Enceladus.
    28 September: After a review of evidence from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, NASA concluded that liquid water occurs on present day Mars.
    • 27 September – A total lunar eclipse, dubbed a "supermoon" because of its apparent larger size in the sky, takes place over Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Americas. The next supermoon eclipse will not occur until October 2033.[400]
    • 28 September
    • 29 September – Researchers develop a new test, ViroCap, that can detect nearly any virus known to infect humans and animals. The researchers are making the technology publicly available worldwide, for the benefit of patients and research.[410]

    October[edit]

    • 1 October – IBM announces a breakthrough that could accelerate the replacement of silicon transistors with carbon nanotubes and work down to 1.8 nm node sizes.[411]
    8 October: A third global coral bleaching event is announced, likely to be the worst on record.
    8 & 28 October: Details of a human mission to Mars, and related health hazards, released.[422][423][424]
    • 8 October
    • 13 October
      • Astronomers discover V774104, an object which initially appeared to have a 103 AU distance from the Sun, which would have made it the furthest known object from the sun. Upon public release of the object in March 2018, it was only 90 AU from the Sun, making it only the third furthest known object.
      • Scientists achieve a breakthrough in finding a general cure for cancer by attaching malaria proteins to cancer cells, which appears effective on 90% of cancer types. Human trials are expected to begin within four years.[433][434]
      • Forensic scientists report a chemical procedure that can identify gender from a fingerprint. The fingerprint test is based on the much higher levels of certain amino acids in the perspiration of women than in men.[435][436]
    • 14 October – Scientists report finding fossil evidence of life on the very young Earth 4.1 billion years ago, 300 million years older than known earlier. According to one of the researchers, "If life arose relatively quickly on Earth ... then it could be common in the universe."[437][438]
    • 15 October
      • Researchers at Stockholm University develop a material for capturing CO2 in the presence of water.[439]
      • Chattanooga announces that a public utility will offer the world's first 10 gigabit broadband service across a large community-wide territory.[440]
    • 20 October
      • Sulfur-limonene polysulphide is used to synthesise a new material able to cheaply and efficiently absorb mercury pollution from soils and water.[441][442]
      • Researchers in California use big data to identify over 100 novel cancer driver genes.[443]
      • Sunscreen chemicals such as oxybenzone may be contributing to the decline of coral reefs popular with tourists, according to a study by the University of Central Florida.[444]
    23 October: Hurricane Patricia is the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Western hemisphere.
    26 October: Eating processed or red meat linked to some cancers by WHO.

    November[edit]

    5 November: MAVEN, an orbiter circling Mars, helped determine that the solar wind stripped away the atmosphere from Mars over the years.[470][471]
    • 4 November – New Horizons completes the last in a series of four maneuvers putting it on course for a rendezvous with 2014 MU69 in January 2019, a billion miles beyond Pluto. This propulsive maneuver is the most distant trajectory correction ever performed by any spacecraft.[472]
    • 5 November
      • NASA scientists report, based on results from the MAVEN orbiter circling Mars, that the solar wind is responsible for stripping away the atmosphere of Mars over the years.[470][471]
      • A chemical that could potentially be used in eye drops to reverse cataracts, the leading cause of blindness, is identified by scientists at the University of California.[473]
      • In a world first, gene-edited immune cells are used to treat ‘incurable’ leukaemia in a one-year-old girl.[474]
      • Stem cell scientists at the University Health Network identify 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 personalised treatments for blood disorders.[475]
    • 11 November
    • 12 November
    • 16 November
    • 17 November
      • A point mutation in a gene of the serotonin 2B receptor is linked to impulsive behaviour in humans, particularly those who are drunk, according to research by the University of Helsinki in Finland.[491]
      • Scientists develop a self-healing, flexible sensor that mimics the self-healing properties of human skin. Incidental scratches or cuts to the sensors "heal" themselves in less than one day.[492]
    • 18 November
      • University of Washington engineers report the development of a novel technology that uses a Wi-Fi router to power devices.[493]
      • Astronomers at the University of Arizona capture the first image of an exoplanet being formed in a protoplanetary disk. The object, LkCa 15 b, is located 450 light years away, orbiting a young star named LkCa15.[494]
      • University of Massachusetts Medical School researchers have created a greatly improved implementation of CRISPR with potentially far reaching implications.[495]
    • 19 November – For the first time, the FDA approves genetically modified salmon for human consumption.[496]
    • 20 November – Doctors use virtual reality in surgery for the first time, which helps to clear the blocked coronary artery of a male patient.[497]
    • 23 November – The genome of the tardigrade is published, revealing that 17.5% is foreign DNA (from other organisms). It is the only animal able to survive in the vacuum of space.[498]
    • 24 November – A review of scientific literature by Bristol University finds no substantive evidence of a "pause" or "hiatus" in global warming.[499]
    • 25 November – By switching off, one by one, almost 18,000 genes — 90 per cent of the entire human genome — scientists at the University of Toronto identify genes that are essential for cell survival.[500]
    • 30 November – The U.S. Geological Survey predicts that between 16 and 24 percent of Alaskan permafrost will disappear by 2100.[501]

    December[edit]

    • 1–3 December – The International Summit on Human Gene Editing is held in Washington.[502]
    • 1 December
      • Blood vessel-like structures found in an 80 million-year-old hadrosaur fossil are confirmed to be original to the animal, and not biofilm or other contaminants.[503]
      • A new "Polarised 3D" system developed by MIT can increase the resolution of conventional 3-D imaging devices 1,000-fold.[504]
      • Epson debuts "PaperLab", the world's first office papermaking system that turns waste paper into new sheets.[505]
    • 2 December – A new mass spectral imaging device at Colorado State University allows 3-D mapping of cellular composition at a resolution of 75 nanometres wide and 20 nanometres deep — more than 100 times higher than was previously possible.[506]
    16 December: Cancer mainly the result of environmental factors.[523]
    • 14 December – A new atomic force microscope is announced by MIT, capable of scanning images 2,000 times faster than existing commercial models. This allows it to operate with near-real-time video speed to capture structures as small as a fraction of a nanometer from single strands of DNA down to individual hydrogen bonds.[524]
    • 15 December
      • Two teams of physicists, working independently at CERN, report preliminary hints of a possible new subatomic particle (more specifically, the ATLAS and CMS experiments, using 13 TeV proton collision data, showed a moderate excess around 750 GeV, in the two-photon spectrum): if real, the particle could be either a heavier version of a Higgs boson or a graviton.[525][526][527]
      • A new world record for the smallest inkjet image is announced, after researchers in Switzerland used quantum dots to produce a 0.0092 mm2 (80 µm x 115 µm) colour photo of tropical clown fish at a resolution of 25,000 dpi.[528]
    • 16 December – Cancer is overwhelmingly a result of environmental factors, and not largely down to bad luck, a study by medical scientists suggests. Maintaining a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet, minimizing alcohol and eliminating smoking reduces the risk of developing the disease, according to researchers.[523][529]
    • 17 December – Researchers develop a new Big Data statistical method, known as iGWAS, which identifies five longevity loci associated with healthy aging.[530]
    • 19 December – A final flyby of Enceladus, moon of Saturn, by the Cassini spacecraft, is reported by NASA.[531]
    • 21 December
      • U.S. company SpaceX, headed by Elon Musk, achieves a historic milestone in space flight by landing a Falcon 9 rocket vertically, demonstrating that cheaper reusable rockets might be possible.[532]
      • In response to the dramatic decline of lion populations in the wild, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces two lion subspecies as endangered and threatened. Panthera leo leo, found in India and Africa, is listed as endangered, and Panthera leo melanochaita, in eastern and southern Africa, is listed as threatened.[533]
    • 22 December – NASA calls off the launch of the InSight Mars mission in March 2016, due to an air leak in one of the primary scientific instruments. It's currently unclear if the mission would be cancelled entirely or delayed until 2018.[534][535][536]
    • 28 December – Scientists report the discovery of a new type of basaltic rock, rich in ilmenite, a black mineral, on the moon by Chang’e-3, a Chinese spacecraft that landed on the moon in 2013.[537]
    • 30 December – The seventh row of the periodic table is officially declared full, after the discovery of elements 113, 115, 117 and 118.[538]

    Awards[edit]

    UNESCO Medals[edit]

    • UNESCO Medal for the Development of Nanoscience and Nanotechnologies: Valentin Bukhtoyarov, Constance Chang-Hasnain, Soodabeh Davaran, Vladimir Fortov, Mikhail Kovalchuk, Tebello Nyokong, Mikhail Selyanin and Shem Wandiga.[539][540]

    Deaths[edit]

    See also[edit]

    References[edit]

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