Science 2016: Facts Discovered Just This Year - Part 1


Humanity has had pretty big breakthroughs in the recent years. There are some that feels like it had been uncovered decades ago but, actually, was just discovered this year.

BuzzFeed collated a list of over 30 science facts that have just been discovered this year. We will be breaking down the list to several parts in order to provide a closer look at the findings.

Gravitational waves

Einstein was right -- they actually do exist. According to The Verge, scientists claimed that they have proven that gravitational waves exist. These are the ripples in space-time that result from objects moving throughout the Universe.

The discovery was made by researchers from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) Scientific Collaboration. Their observatories were able to pick up wave signals from two distant black holes on Sep. 14, 2015. Albert Einstein predicted gravitational waves as part of his theory of general relativity in 1916.

Earth-like planet

A new planet, which is located about 4.2 light years away, has been found. What's more interesting about this discovery is that it has appears to have the same ideal conditions as Earth to be habitable by humans.

In a paper published in the journal Nature, the small planet orbits Proxima Centauri, which is the Sun's closest neighboring star. Olivier Guyon, an associate professor at the University of Arizona, Tucson and a planet-hunting affiliate at NASA, described it as a "game-changer" in the field.

A computer has beaten a human world champion at Go

Go is a Chinese game with ancient origins where players need to place stones on a 19 by 19 board. The goal is to catch the opponent's stones by surrounding them.

RT reported that, just this March, the AlphaGo program has defeated Lee So-dol, from South Korea. Lee is an 18-time world champion at Go. This is a major feat for AI technology since there are endless possibilities for the moves in the game. The program was created by Google-owned UK group DeepMind.

Red squirrels and leprosy

Just last month, red squirrels living across the British Isles were found to have leprosy. The Guardian noted that scientists believe that the endangered animals may have been infected with the disease for centuries.

Research found that the squirrels carry the same bacteria that cause the human disease. It is likely that humans caught leprosy from this source.

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