2016 has been an intense year, with great scientific and technological discoveries. We review some of the highlights.

Detection of gravitational waves 1
The Wave Observatory detection Gravitations (LIGO) faileddetect the February 11, 2016 gravitational waves. The detection was thanks to two black holes that collided 1.3 billion years ago. This fusion of two black holes to about 410 megaparsecs of Earth was coded GW150914. They had never been detected before. Thanks to this scientific milestone, we were able to obtain a test of the theory of general relativity in the strong field regime and allow scientists to study the cosmos in a completely new way. Reduction of ozone depletion


in July 2016 atmospheric scientists report that the ozone hole that protects the Earth from UV radiation is beginning to heal. The data indicate that, thanks to the Montreal Protocol signed in 1987 – to limit the use of ozone-depleting chemicals – the hole in the ozone layer dropped more than 4 million square kilometers (about half the territory Of Brazil) since reaching its peak in 2000. The Montreal Protocol drastically reduced the manufacture of these compounds, such as chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs, which were used for air conditioners, refrigerators and other products. It entered into force in 1989 and eliminated CFCs completely by 2010.

Expansion of Zika virus

According to the scientist Sonja Rasmussen of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta (EE. UU.), “This is the year in which the People became convinced that this virus transmitted by mosquitoes could cause birth defects. ” The zika is spread mainly through the bite of a mosquito of the species Aedes that is infected but, in addition, can happen of a pregnant woman to the fetus that can cause certain congenital defects. In December 2016 Puerto Rico reported more 34,000 people infected by Zika, 2,700 of them pregnant women. This end flooded pregnant women with uncertainty and fear. “It’s really scary being pregnant now,” Rasmussen says.

Babies parents 3


In September 2016 the first baby was born with a new fertility technique using DNA from three people. This baby of three genetic parents has the normal DNA of his mother and father, plus a small piece of genetic material from a donor. This controversial technique allows parents with rare genetic mutations to have healthy babies.
On 24 August 2016 discovered a twin planet potentially habitable Earth in the vicinity of the closest star to the sun, Proxima Centauri (located just 4.5 light years from Earth). This planet named Proxima b is rocky and of a size similar to the Earth. As if this were not enough, it is in the habitable zone of this system. As a curiosity, the day and the year in this exoplanet lasts the same: 11 days. Will this planet be our home for the future?

Discovery Proxima b

In this world of changing climate, extreme loss of sea ice in the Arctic is more than worrisome news. The ice contracted 4.14 million square kilometers this summer, well below the average of 6.22 million square kilometers. Much of the ice of several years has been replaced by thinner and seasonal ice. Changes in sea ice have and will have devastating consequences on ecosystems.

Loss of ice in the Arctic

Artificial intelligence AlphaGo defeat a human. The best player in the world of Go lost against the AI of Google. AlphaGo, the software conceived by Google, confirmed to be a notorious advance for the intuitive artificial intelligence. The IA beat South Korean Lee Sedol, winner of 18 international titles, in this duel to the best of five games, awarded with one million dollars. One of its strengths is that it employs algorithms that allow it to learn and improve from past experiences. The victory surprised Go players and gurus alike.

Victory artificial intelligence

In September the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classified the panda as “vulnerable” instead of “threatened”, so it is no longer endangered. The good news is that their numbers have risen 17% in the last decade (in 10 years it has gone from 1,596 to 1,864 copies), thanks to the increase of the individuals living in freedom in the south of China. Although pandas remain vulnerable, it is good news for biodiversity.

Pandas out of danger

SpaceX made history in April when performing a vertical landing your recyclable rocket on a floating platform in the ocean drones. This achievement will allow the company of Elon Musk to recover and reuse its rocket launchers, which would reduce the costs of space exploration up to 30%.

Space X and reusable rocket

One of the greatest achievements of biology 2016 has been the creation of a bacterium with only 473 genes by a group of scientists led by Craig Venter, the father of the human genome. It is a bacterium of maximum simplicity, with fewer genes than any organism created in nature (the human genome consists of more than 20,000 genes). It only has the essential elements to exist and reproduce. The study also identified genes crucial for the survival of microbes, but very unknown to science. A new chapter of the great book of life and the creation of artificial organisms.

The simplest artificial life

A team of scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in California (USA) led by Spanish researcher Juan Carlos Izpis├║a Belmonte us about the dream of eternal life. In December, the experts announced that they had managed to increase the life expectancy of live mice by 30%. This milestone has been achieved thanks to the reprogramming of chemical marks in the genome.

Slowing aging