National Science Day 2023: Five Ground-Breaking Discoveries That Changed The World
National Science Day 2023: Science has been one of the most important drivers of progress and innovation throughout human history and its impact on society as we know it cannot be overstated. It has transformed the way we live, work, and interact with the world around us. Throughout history, scientists have made countless discoveries that paved the way for many inventions and advancements. From Galileo's pendulum experiment to the discovery of DNA, science has been instrumental in expanding our understanding of ourselves and the world we live in.
This National Science Day, let us look at some scientific discoveries that have shaped the way we perceive the universe around us:
- X-Ray: X-rays have been one of the most impactful discoveries in the field of medicine. In 1895, German physicist Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen discovered that invisible rays were emitted from his cathode ray tube that could penetrate human flesh and bones, creating images of the internal structure of the body. His discovery of X-rays revolutionized the medical field and it is still used today for diagnostic imaging. Roentgen's discovery of X-rays earned him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1901.
- Gravity: The concept of gravity was first proposed by Sir Isaac Newton in the late 1600s. There is a popular anecdote about an apple falling from a tree onto his head, which sparked the idea. He discovered that every object in the universe attracts every other object with a force that is directly proportional to their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them. Newton’s discovery of gravity explained the movement of planets, stars, and other celestial bodies, laying the foundation for modern physics.
- DNA: In 1953, James Watson and Francis Crick discovered the structure of DNA through their groundbreaking experiment in the field of genetics, the “double helix experiment”. The experiment involved analyzing data using X-ray crystallography, to deduce the structure of DNA, making it easier to understand the basic building blocks of life. The results of the experiment showed that DNA was a double-helix structure, consisting of two intertwined strands. Their discovery was a game changer in genetics and biotechnology, opening up new possibilities for the understanding and manipulation of the genetic code of living organisms. Today, this knowledge is used to cure genetic diseases, enhance agricultural productivity, and develop new medicines.
- The Big Bang Theory: The Big Bang Theory is the most widely accepted explanation for the origin of the universe. It is believed that the universe began as a single, infinitesimally-small point of energy that exploded in a Big Bang. This explosion is thought to have created all matter and energy that make up the universe. The theory was first proposed by Georges Lemaître in the 1920s, and has since been refined and expanded on by modern cosmologists. Ongoing research in cosmology and astrophysics continues to refine our understanding of the Big Bang and its implications for the nature and evolution of the universe.
- Germ Theory: The germ theory of disease was first proposed by Louis Pasteur in the 1860s. He showed that microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses could cause infectious diseases and that sterilization and disinfection could prevent the spread of disease. The discovery of germ theory has had a monumental impact on medicine and public health, leading to the development of antibiotics, vaccines, and other treatments that have saved countless lives. Today, the understanding of germ theory continues to inform our approach to preventing and treating infectious diseases.
These five impactful scientific discoveries have had a profound impact on human society. They have led to new medical treatments, new technologies, and new ways of understanding the world around us. It is also important to remember that these discoveries were made possible by the hard work and dedication of countless scientists, researchers, and innovators, who continue to push the boundaries of scientific discovery. As we celebrate National Science Day, we should reflect on these achievements and look forward to the exciting discoveries yet to come.
Anand Prakash is Co-Founder & Head of Academics at Vedantu, Vedantu - India's leading online tutoring company which enables students to learn LIVE, with some of India's best-curated teachers.