The 10 Most "OMG" Science Discoveries of 2022 (2023)

Like all of us, science has had a rough few years. The coronavirus pandemic overwhelmed the news and the most urgent scientific discoveries became matters of political controversy. There didn't seem to be much to celebrate—or even think about outside the pandemic. But researchers in hundreds of fields kept up their life's work. And now that the cloud COVID-19 cast on everyday life has begun to lift somewhat, it's clear that there have been some pretty amazing scientific discoveries this year.

They've changed our understanding of everything from prehistoric history to our future in space, to why humans age, what the brain is capable of, and why the toll from climate change is even more severe than currently believed. Read on to find out more about the 10 most amazing scientific discoveries of 2022 so far.

1

30,000-Year-Old Baby Woolly Mammoth Discovered In Canadian Ice

The 10 Most "OMG" Science Discoveries of 2022 (1)

When miners in Canada discovered an animal frozen within the permafrost, they quickly called experts. None of them were prepared for what emerged: University of Calgary researchers were stunned when it was determined to be a female baby woolly mammoth, about 30,000 years old, with perfectly preserved toenails, skin, trunk, and hair—the best-preserved woolly mammoth ever found in North America.

"It is as close to meeting a living mammoth as one can get," the school said in a press release. "It was incredible to think this was an animal that died so long ago, but here it is, preserved so well that it still has hair on it—frankly, it was mind-blowing," said Dr. Dan Shugar, a science professor at the university. He called it "the most exciting scientific thing I have ever been a part of."

2

Ice Age-era Footprints Discovered in the US

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The 10 Most "OMG" Science Discoveries of 2022 (2)

A study published in August revealed that scientists had found 88 fossilized footprints belonging to adults and children, likely dating back 12,000 years, in shallow Utah riverbeds. It's just the second set of human tracks from the Ice Age to be identified in the United States (the first was in 2021).

They suggest humans occupied the area 7,500 years earlier than previously thought, and that could shake up our current understanding of how humans evolved. "Now that we have this human element, the story of the very early people becomes more real," David Madsen, an archaeologist at the University of Nevada-Reno, told CNN. "There's more funding available, there's more interest in it, there'll be more recovery."

3

We Can Nudge Asteroids Off Track

The 10 Most "OMG" Science Discoveries of 2022 (3)

NASA smashed a spacecraft, known as DART, directly into an asteroid in September. Their aim: To see if such a collision could knock the asteroid off its orbit, something that could protect Earth from an apocalyptic asteroid strike, like the one that wiped out the dinosaurs millions of years ago. The $325 million craft—about the size of a vending machine—was directed at the asteroid Dimorphos, about 6.8 million miles away from Earth.

It slammed into the space rock at 14,000 miles an hour and was destroyed instantly.The mission seems to have been successful, nudging Dimorphos off its previous orbit. "As far as we can tell, our first planetary defense test was a success," said Elena Adams, DART's mission systems engineer at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHUAPL), after the impact. "I think Earthlings should sleep better. Definitely, I will."

4

Brain Cells Grown in Lab Have Learned to Play Video Game

The 10 Most "OMG" Science Discoveries of 2022 (4)

Australian researchers say they've grown brain cells in a lab that have learned to play the vintage video game Pong. The "mini-brains" they created can sense and respond to their environment. Dr. Brett Kagan said his team had created the first "sentient" brain grown in a lab. "We could find no better term to describe the device," he said. "It is able to take in information from an external source, process it, and then respond to it in real-time."

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In the experiment, researchers grew human brain cells from stem cells and mouse embryos into a mini-brain consisting of 800,000 cells. They connected the mini-brain to Pong via electrodes that indicated which side the ball was on and how far from the paddle it was. Upon "viewing" the video game, the cells produced electrical activity, said the scientists, who gave the cells feedback on whether they were hitting the ball or not.

The mini-brain learned to play the game in five minutes, the researchers said. It frequently missed the ball, but its connection rate was higher than random chance.

The 10 Most "OMG" Science Discoveries of 2022 (5)

It's called "covert consciousness," a state in which the brain reacts to the outside world with some comprehension, but the body remains unresponsive. Scientific American reported that as many as 15 to 20 percent of patients who appear to be in a coma exhibit this kind of internal awareness when monitored with technology that can measure brain activity. This is changing scientists' understanding of comas and other unresponsive states.

Studies have found that people whose covert consciousness is detected early have a greater chance of full, functional recovery. "​​This is very big for the field," a neuroscientist said about the first major study of the phenomenon. "The understanding that, as the brain recovers, one in seven people could be conscious and aware, very much aware, of what's being said about them, and that this applies every day, in every I.C.U.—it's gigantic."

6

Greenland Is Disappearing Much More Quickly Than Previously Believed

The 10 Most "OMG" Science Discoveries of 2022 (6)

The world's second-largest sheet of ice, also known as Greenland, seems to be disappearing faster than scientists previously thought. Warmer ocean waters and rising air temperatures have accelerated the Arctic land's melting. According to a study published in the journal Nature Geoscience, Greenland is losing about 250 billion metric tons of ice each year.

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Those losses are accelerating over time. Warm air causes the surface of the ice sheet to melt, and the runoff is deposited into the oceans. Scientists say this churns the waters, which causes heat to rise from the oceans and further warm the waters that touch the ice. That makes the glaciers melt faster. This "could push up ocean levels to the degree that even New York and San Francisco will have to prepare for a new normal," MarketWatch reported. "

Scientists are particularly concerned about the effects that a melting ice sheet could have on some coastal U.S. cities, such as New York City; Washington, D.C.; San Francisco; and New Orleans. These popular metro areas could become underwater cities if ice sheets melt enough to raise the sea level significantly."

7

Near-Earth Asteroids Found

The 10 Most "OMG" Science Discoveries of 2022 (7)

The European Space Agency says there are more than 30,000 near-earth asteroids (NEAs) in the solar system. They're space rocks—occasionally huge ones—that revolve around the sun on paths relatively close to Earth's orbit. And 1,425 of them have a "non-zero chance" of hitting the earth.

Of the 30,039 NEAs, about 10,000 are larger than 460 feet in diameter, and 1,000 are larger than 3,280 feet in diameter. The 1,425 that have a "non-zero chance of impact" are being watched closely by astronomers. Possibly comforting: On average, Earth is hit by a large asteroid every 5,000 years and a civilization-ending asteroid every one million years, says NASA.

8

One Billion Crabs Have Mysteriously Disappeared From Alaska

The 10 Most "OMG" Science Discoveries of 2022 (8)

In October, CBS News reported that one billion crabs have disappeared from Alaska in the last two years, and experts aren't sure why. That amounts to 90% of their population. The decline is so severe that fish and game officials have canceled the upcoming winter crab season for the first time in state history, and the economy is likely to take a $200 million hit. What's more: Scientists worry this may be an ominous sign for the global ecosystem.

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Disease is a potential explanation. Climate change is another. NOAA indicates that Alaska is the fastest-warming state in the U.S, and crabs need cold water to survive. Miranda Westphal, a biologist with Alaska's fish and game department, said that between 2018 and 2019, the Bering Sea "was extremely warm and the snow crab population kind of huddled together in the coolest water they could find," she said. When the water warms, their metabolism increases, spurring them to eat more. "They probably starved to death and there was not enough food."

9

Scientists Successfully Transplanted Human Brain Cells Into Baby Rats

The 10 Most "OMG" Science Discoveries of 2022 (9)

In a study published in the journal Nature this October, scientists injected human nerve cells into the brains of rats. They found that those neurons continued to grow, forming connections with their host's brain cells and guiding their behavior. Those cells ultimately grew to comprise one-sixth of the animals' brains.

"The ultimate goal of this work is to begin to understand features of complex diseases like schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorder, bipolar disorder," Paola Arlotta, a Harvard neuroscientist, told NPR. But some scientists are nervous. At what point does a rat implanted with human cells cease to be a rat? And could the process create, gulp, highly capable "super rats"? "It raises the possibility that you're creating an enhanced rat that might have cognitive capacities greater than an ordinary rat," said Julian Savulescu, a bioethicist at the National University of Singapore.

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10

Men Age Faster Than Women, and Are "Four Years Older" by Time They're 50

The 10 Most "OMG" Science Discoveries of 2022 (10)

Scientists say they've found evidence that men age faster than women, and men are biologically four years older than women by the time they're 50 years old. This "aging gap" also exists between men and women in their 20s. Researchers in Finland looked at 2,240 twins in two age groups: Those between 21 and 42 years of age and those between 50 and 76. Using the epigenetic clock, a biochemical test used to measure age, the scientists compared each person's chronological age to how old the epigenetic clock said they are biologically.

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Using the clocks, the researchers found that men were biologically older than women, and the difference increased with calendar age, even when accounting for lifestyle. The study author said that when comparing male-female twins, the male was about one year biologically older than his sister in his 20s and four years in his 50s. "These pairs have grown in the same environment and share half of their genes," she said. "The difference may be explained, for example, by sex differences in genetic factors and the beneficial effects of the female sex hormone estrogen on health."

FAQs

What is the biggest discovery of 2022? ›

The Most Important Discovery Of 2022: The James Webb Space Telescope.

What discoveries have you heard about in recent years? ›

Here are 10 science breakthroughs of 2021 that you need to know about.
  • The Covid-19 vaccine. ...
  • Malaria vaccine for kids. ...
  • Launch of the James Webb Telescope. ...
  • New findings on Mars. ...
  • Closer than ever to finding ET. ...
  • CRISPR gene editing injected into blood. ...
  • New species of early humans. ...
  • Most powerful quantum processor yet.
31 Dec 2021

What has been discovered in 2022? ›

It's been a landmark year for discovering new, fascinating worlds. In 2022, NASA surpassed 5,000 confirmed exoplanets, which are alien worlds beyond our solar system. These include a diversity of distant planets, including (perhaps rocky) super-Earths, gas giants like Jupiter, "ice giants" like Neptune, and beyond.

What planet is discovered in 2022? ›

November 3, 2022

This week's new planets include two TESS discoveries, TOI-969 b and TOI-3884 b, that are rare for their type: short-period planets between the sizes of sub-Neptunes and Saturn.

What is the latest discovery of science 2022? ›

Astronomers report the discovery of HD1, considered to be the earliest and most distant known galaxy yet identified in the observable universe, located only about 330 million years after the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago, a light-travel distance of 13.5 billion light-years from Earth, and, due to the expansion of the ...

What are the 10 scientific discoveries? ›

Here we have a look at ten of the world's greatest accidental scientific discoveries.
  • Penicillin. One of the biggest medicinal breakthroughs in history came about entirely by accident. ...
  • Viagra. ...
  • Plastic. ...
  • The Microwave. ...
  • Vaseline. ...
  • Strikeable Match. ...
  • Gunpowder. ...
  • Mauve.
27 Sept 2022

What are the top 10 scientific discoveries of all time? ›

Here are our top picks for the most important inventions of all time, along with the science behind the invention and how they came about.
  • The wheel. ...
  • The nail. ...
  • The compass. ...
  • The printing press. ...
  • The internal combustion engine. ...
  • The telephone. ...
  • The light bulb. ...
  • Penicillin.
22 Dec 2021

What are the top 10 inventions of the 21st century? ›

These are the 21st-century inventions that shape our day-to-day world.
  • Smartphones. We're practically attached to them, so it's hard to remember that the first iPhone came out just 15 years ago. ...
  • Social media. ...
  • Tokenization. ...
  • GPS Navigation. ...
  • Streaming. ...
  • E-Readers. ...
  • Human Genome Map. ...
  • Cryptocurrency.
1 Jul 2022

Who is the No 1 scientist in the history? ›

Albert Einstein is one of the most famous scientists in the world. He used to be an eccentric person who was perhaps the only scientist in the world who has become such a household name. His theories of relativity, gravitation and his understanding of molecules have defined new approaches in science.

What is the biggest breakthrough in history? ›

The List
  • The printing press, 1430s. ...
  • Electricity, late 19th century. ...
  • Penicillin, 1928. ...
  • Semiconductor electronics, mid-20th century. ...
  • Optical lenses, 13th century. ...
  • Paper, second century. ...
  • The internal combustion engine, late 19th century. ...
  • Vaccination, 1796.
15 Nov 2013

What will be the next biggest scientific breakthrough? ›

  • 1.1 Wearable devices.
  • 1.2 Internet of Things.
  • 1.3 Big Data and Machine Learning.
  • 1.4 Cryptocurrency.
  • 1.5 Driverless cars.
  • 1.6 3D printing.
  • 1.7 Virtual reality.
  • 1.8 Genomics.

What discovery has changed the world? ›

Some important scientific and cultural discoveries that changed the world. Includes very basic discoveries such as fire, wheel and writing and also later scientific discoveries such as gravity, the theory of evolution and the theory relativity.

What is the newest animal? ›

It has been named the rose-veiled fairy wrasse (Cirrhilabrus finifenmaa). The new species is found off the coast of the Maldives, and is one of the first-ever to be formally described by a Maldivian researcher.

How much of the Earth has been explored 2022? ›

Just 5 percent of Earth's oceans have been explored and charted – especially the ocean below the surface. The rest remains mostly undiscovered and unseen by humans.

What will planet 9 be called? ›

Planet Nine - also referred to as Planet X - is a massive, hypothetical object in an elliptical orbit far beyond Pluto, roughly at a distance that would take 10,000 to 20,000 Earth years for it to complete a single trip around the Sun.

Can we live on super-Earth? ›

Rocky planets larger than our own, so-called super-Earths, are surprisingly abundant in our Galaxy, and stand as the most likely planets to be habitable.

Does Earth have a sister planet? ›

Venus has long been considered Earth's twin sister. The two planets are very similar in some respects and share many physical and orbital characteristics: inner planets.

How old is the earth? ›

Earth is estimated to be 4.54 billion years old, plus or minus about 50 million years. Scientists have scoured the Earth searching for the oldest rocks to radiometrically date. In northwestern Canada, they discovered rocks about 4.03 billion years old.

Who is the number one scientist in 2022? ›

Peter Reich, director of the Institute for Global Change Biology at the U-M School for Environment and Sustainability, has been ranked the No.

Who is the youngest scientist in the world 2022? ›

(Wednesday, October 19, 2022) – 3M (@3M) and Discovery Education (@DiscoveryEd) have named Leanne Fan, a 9th grader at Westville High School in Poway Unified School District in San Diego, Calif., the winner of the 2022 3M Young Scientist Challenge (#YoungScientist), the nation's premier middle school science ...

What are 10 scientific facts? ›

Some Amazing Science Facts
  • The oceans produce the majority of the oxygen on Earth. ...
  • Soil is full of life. ...
  • Bananas are radioactive. ...
  • Water can exist in three states at the same time. ...
  • Helium has the ability to work against gravity. ...
  • Humans have inherited genes from other species. ...
  • Human Body. ...
  • Animals and Insects.

What are the 10 scientific method steps? ›

Steps of the scientific method
  1. Make an observation or ask a question. ...
  2. Gather background information. ...
  3. Create a hypothesis. ...
  4. Create a prediction and perform a test. ...
  5. Analyze the results and draw a conclusion. ...
  6. Share the conclusion or decide what question to ask next: Document the results of your experiment.

What was the first discovery in science? ›

He was the one who discovered the motion of uniformly accelerated objects that the objects of different masses fall at the same time. On August 21, 1609, Galileo introduced his first scientific discovery of the telescope that amazed the whole world.

Who is a famous female scientist? ›

Some of them are rightfully well-known, like Marie Curie, Ada Lovelace and Rosalind Franklin. But others, like fossil hunter Mary Anning and NASA pioneer Katherine Johnson, aren't such household names. So, we've put together this list of 22 women in science history who deserve to be remembered for their work.

Which country has best scientists? ›

Scientists from the United States dominate the list with 490 scholars included in 2022 which represents 49% of the whole earth scientists ranking. Only 3 out of 10 scientists in the top 1% are from the United States.

Who is the father of science? ›

Albert Einstein called Galileo the “father of modern science.” Galileo Galilei was born on February 15, 1564, in Pisa, Italy but lived in Florence, Italy for most of his childhood.

What will be invented in the next 20 years? ›

They can carry out the mathematical computations needed for AI and machine learning at the speed of light. That's up to 5 to 10 times faster than electricity-based AI chips.
...
Technologies that process data using light include:
  • Self-driving cars.
  • Advanced robots.
  • Quantum computers.
  • VR glasses.
  • Brain-computer interfaces.
9 Jan 2022

What are the top 10 inventions of the 20th century? ›

Time Magazine's 20 Most Influential Inventions of the 20th Century
  • Radio.
  • Television.
  • Transistor.
  • Laser.
  • Electric refrigeration.
  • Personal computer.
  • Wireless technology.
  • Manned spaceflight.

Who is the greatest scientist today? ›

The Most Influential Scientists in the World Today
  • Margaret J. Geller. ...
  • John Tyler Bonner. He is a distinguished biologist that studied at Harvard University then joined Princeton University as a faculty member. ...
  • Alan Guth. ...
  • Allen J. ...
  • Timothy Berners-Lee. ...
  • Stephen Hawking. ...
  • Jane Goodall. ...
  • Ashoke Sen.

Who started science? ›

Aristotle is considered by many to be the first scientist, although the term postdates him by more than two millennia. In Greece in the fourth century BC, he pioneered the techniques of logic, observation, inquiry and demonstration.

How can I be a scientist? ›

These are the basic steps you should follow to become a research scientist: Obtain a bachelor's degree. Complete a master's degree.
...
Consider a doctorate.
  1. Obtain a bachelor's degree. ...
  2. Complete a master's degree. ...
  3. Gain experience. ...
  4. Pursue certifications. ...
  5. Consider a doctorate.

What saved the most lives? ›

The breakthroughs that are credited with saving the most lives? Toilets, synthetic fertilizers, blood transfusions, the green revolution (also known as the “Third Agricultural Revolution”), and vaccines are each credited with saving 1 billion lives.

What invention has saved the most human lives? ›

CPR was invented by Dr. James Elm and Dr. Peter Safar and since then has gone on the save approximately 92,000 lives each year.

How can I breakthrough in life? ›

Below are the seven things you must do to create a personal breakthrough:
  1. Hit a low point. This may seem counter-intuitive, but the first step is to hit a low point. ...
  2. Analyse your story so far. ...
  3. Make a decision. ...
  4. Set a new standard. ...
  5. Design your new life. ...
  6. Take up three new positive habits. ...
  7. Get clear on your why.
20 Apr 2017

What will be invented in the next 10 years? ›

The World in 2030: Top 20 Future Technologies
  • Human-Like AI Will Likely Become A Reality. ...
  • 8K Virtual Reality Headsets Will Become Mainstream. ...
  • Brain-Interface Devices Will Become Mainstream. ...
  • The First Quantum Computers With 1 Million Qubits Will Emerge. ...
  • 3D-Printed Human Organs Will Begin Being Used.
8 Jan 2022

What technology will we have in 50 years? ›

According to Forbes, by 2050, IoT technology will be in 95% of electronics for new product designs. And by 2050 it is expected to have everything connected to the cloud and to the internet. According to Business Insider, Space tourism could be feasible in 2050, but likely only for the very wealthy.

What will be next big thing? ›

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are not new concepts but will revolutionize the world within 5 years. AR enhances reality while VR helps us forget it. Together, they open a world beyond reality, the internet or the internet of things; a new industry, the internet of experiences, is emerging.

Which 11 discoveries changed the world? ›

From pioneering inventions to bold scientific and medical advancements, find out more about 11 innovations that changed the course of human history.
  • The Printing Press. ...
  • The Compass. ...
  • Paper Currency. ...
  • Steel. ...
  • The Electric Light. ...
  • Domestication of the Horse. ...
  • 9 Groundbreaking Inventions by Women.
  • Transistors.
18 Feb 2021

What was the greatest discovery of all time and why? ›

On February 28, 1953, James Watson of the United States and Francis Crick of England made one of the greatest scientific discoveries in history. The two scientists found the double-helix structure of DNA.

What was the biggest discovery made by man? ›

Mankind's Greatest Inventions
  • The Wheel.
  • Aqueducts.
  • The Printing Press.
  • The Telescope.
  • Vaccines.
  • Gunpowder.
  • Steam Engine.
  • The Satellite.

What is happening to the Earth 2022? ›

The present state of climate change

In March 2022, carbon dioxide levels reached 418 parts per million – the highest global concentration on record, the authors point out. This year is on course to be one of the hottest in recorded history, and ocean temperature has reached its highest on record.

What is the latest discovery in Science and Technology 2022? ›

Astronomers report the discovery of HD1, considered to be the earliest and most distant known galaxy yet identified in the observable universe, located only about 330 million years after the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago, a light-travel distance of 13.5 billion light-years from Earth, and, due to the expansion of the ...

What is the biggest threat to our planet? ›

Related. NEW YORK (21 October 2022) – Human-induced climate change is the largest, most pervasive threat to the natural environment and societies the world has ever experienced, and the poorest countries are paying the heaviest price, a UN expert said.

What will hit the earth next? ›

Apophis will make two modestly close approaches to Earth in 2036, but even the planet Venus will come closer to Earth in 2036.
...
99942 Apophis.
Discovery
Semi-major axis0.9227 AU (138.03 Gm)
Eccentricity0.1914
Orbital period (sidereal)0.89 yr (323.7 d)
Average orbital speed30.73 km/s
37 more rows

Will Earth form again? ›

Scientists have revealed they believe all land on Earth is coming together slowly to form one big supercontinent. Researchers are predicting that all the planet's continents are going to move towards each other over the next 300 million years to form a new supercontinent called Amasia.

Who is the best scientist in 2022? ›

GEOG Researchers Ranked as 2022 Top Scientists by Research.com
  • Research Professor Molly Brown: #5821 (World), #2398 (US)
  • Associate Research Professor Michelle Hofton: #6600 (World), #2542 (US)
  • Research Professor Roberto Cesar Izaurralde: #7165 (World), #2808 (US)

What is the cutest animal on Earth 2022? ›

#1 Margay. The margay is a small wild cat native to Central and South America. A solitary and nocturnal cat, it lives mainly in primary evergreen and deciduous forest. Margay prefers life in rainforests, deciduous and evergreen forests, but it can be also spotted near the coffee and cocoa plantations.

Which animal will be gone in 2025? ›

Pandas, elephants, and other wild animals are likely to become extinct by 2025. None of these animal groups will become extinct within five years, although some specific species are critically endangered.

What is the newest animal on Earth 2022? ›

The rose-veiled fairy wrasse was discovered in March 2022, in the ocean's "twilight zone" in the Maldives.

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