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Biggest Science Breakthroughs In 2016

First Posted: Dec 29, 2016 04:10 AM EST
Gravitational Waves
In February 2016, physicists detected gravitational waves for the first time since Albert Einstein predicted their existence 100 years ago.
(Photo : Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)/YouTube Screenshot)

Countless of breakthroughs and science discoveries are made every year, and 2016 has been specially big. From detecting gravitational waves to discovering new planets, here are some of the biggest discoveries this year:

Confirmation of ninth planet

Pluto may have been demoted to a dwarf planet, but it seems that there are nine planets in our solar system after all. The ninth planet lurking beyond Nepture is about 10 times the mass of Earth and is yet unnamed, although scientists have called it "Planet 9."

Caltech astronomer Konstantin Batygin noted, “Although we were initially quite sceptical that this planet could exist, as we continued to investigate its orbit and what it would mean for the outer solar system, we become increasingly convinced that it is out there."

Baby born to three parents

Humans only need one partner to procreate; thus, a male and a female come together to make babies. However, this year, a baby was brought into the world for the first time with the use of a controversial IVF technique that combined the DNA of three people: the mother, the father and the egg donor.

This is to prevent the child from inheriting a fatal genetic disease, especially considering that the mother already lost two children to the illness. So some of the mother's DNA was removed from the egg to leave the disease-causing genes behind.

Detection of gravitational waves

Scientists announced that they were able to confirm Albert Einstein's century-old theory of gravity, putting them forward on a course for a Nobel prize. World-renowned theoretical physicist Brian Greene found that gravitational waves are "ripples in the fabric of space," basically confirming that vibrations are caused by the motion and changing distribution of mass among planets and celestial bodies.

This breakthrough is considered the biggest in physics in a century. It could be the key to understanding the universe.

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