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Scientific Breakthroughs that Literally Changed Everything
DNA Forensics [Image via igorstevanovic/Shutterstock.com]

21. Knowledge & Advancements In DNA

  • Includes: Discovery Of Double-Helix, DNA Profiling/Forensics

One of the most important things that have come to pass in the world of DNA is our scientific breakthroughs in Forensics. Helped by DNA, we’re able to accurately use even the smallest traces of DNA to find out who might have committed a crime. While this can be done with blood, it can also be done with spit, hair, fingerprints, and much more.

Scientific Breakthroughs that Literally Changed Everything
Photo Credit: New Scientist

However, we also have used DNA outside of criminal justice to find out our ancestries too. Before all of this really began, we make a huge breakthrough in molecules. This is where we are able to look at the double-helix DNA model. We even know of three forms of DNA, the A-form, B-form, & Z-form. All of this has helped us advance science in massive ways, one of which we’ll address later in this article.

Scientific Breakthroughs that Literally Changed Everything
Vintage Telephone [Image via BrAt82/Shutterstock.com]

20. The Telephone

  • Invented By: Alexander Graham Bell

It is hard to imagine that Alexander Graham Bell would have ever envisioned that his idea for the telephone would have advanced to this level. Yet it has, but it first had to be invented, which Bell managed to do in 1876 when he was awarded the U.S. Patent for it.

Scientific Breakthroughs that Literally Changed Everything
Photo Credit: The Helix World

While Bell made it merely for people to speak back and forth over short distances, he actually wanted to advance this to a worldwide reach. Today, the cell phone exists and can be taken anywhere, all over this planet. It can keep lives organized and even handle video calls. Clearly, we can all agree that the telephone is one of humanity’s most important scientific breakthroughs.

Scientific Breakthroughs that Literally Changed Everything
Painkilling Drugs Used To Spell Out “Pain” [Image via Makasana Photo/Shutterstock.com]

19. Painkillers & Anesthetics

  • Invented For: Surgical Procedures, Killing Pain

Upon the invention of painkillers, they were mostly in use during surgeries to help with severe pain. In fact, abuse of them was relatively rare too. Of course, the Ancient Government did not control them but one could not really operate well on them. People had to hunt, farm, and much more. Abuse simply couldn’t work well for most. The main version that began the craze was Opium.

Scientific Breakthroughs that Literally Changed Everything
Photo Credit: Legacy Healing

This came from the Poppy Plant and the use of this as a drug dates back thousands of years. We aren’t sure of the exact timeframe, but everyone is certain they were in use at least hundreds of years before 5,000 B.C. Eventually, different anesthetics became useful and Opium among many others became strictly painkilling drugs.

Scientific Breakthroughs that Literally Changed Everything
Airplane Taking Off [Image via Denis Belitsky/Shutterstock.com]

18. The Airplane

  • Invented By: Officially The Wright Brothers

When we make the distinction that the Wright Brothers were the official inventors of the Airplane, we mention this due to others having the same idea before them. Simply put, the brothers had a design that worked but the idea of man flying has been in discussions with several attempts being made for thousands of years.

Scientific Breakthroughs that Literally Changed Everything
Photo Credit: Rd

The story of Icarus alone proves this was a huge part of Ancient culture. In fact, Leonardo Da Vinci’s design for the Ariel Screw came hundreds of years before the Airplane and is the design that helicopters followed. The thing that makes the Wright Brothers’ design so impressive is its use of the three-axis control system. Today, we use this in satellites, submarines, space ships, and many industrial machines. That said, the airplane is obviously one of our top scientific breakthroughs as it changed travel forever.

Scientific Breakthroughs that Literally Changed Everything
Meteorological Events [Image via Sensvector/Shutterstock.com]

17. Meteorology

  • Invented By: Aristotle

While one would rightfully assume just spotting “meteorology” for the first time that it was the study of meteors, they’d be wrong. Yet in spite of this, they wouldn’t be as far off as one might think. Most of us know this as the study of weather, in a nutshell. Yet it actually involves the entire atmosphere and Earth. It was originally even assumed that astrological patterns and events affected the weather.

Scientific Breakthroughs that Literally Changed Everything
Photo Credit: Stevens Water

It might shock you to learn that the great philosopher and teacher, Aristotle, is the inventor of it. This is due to his book literally titled Meteorology. In it, he discusses water evaporation, earthquakes, and other weather-related phenomena around roughly 350 B.C. Of course, astrology had a connection to all of this for so long that it only makes sense to call it meteorology, right?

Scientific Breakthroughs that Literally Changed Everything
Man Using Laptop & Monitor [Image via Pressmaster/Shutterstock.com]

16. The Computer

  • Invented By: Charles Babbage & Alan Turing

The computer’s invention is thanks to two men mostly, Charles Babbage & Alan Turing. Of course, Babbage invented the Difference Engine. Seen as the earliest computer, it was able to use several forms of arithmetic logic units and then control the flow of them using several conditional branches and loops. His Analytical Engine then improved upon this. Both were invented between 1822 and 1837. Alan Turing’s well, Turing Machine was invented in 1936.

Scientific Breakthroughs that Literally Changed Everything
Photo Credit: Bricsys Blog

It was used during World War II to help decipher coded messages from the Germans. He also invented the Automatic Computing Engine, which is the earliest form of the stored-program computer. We use the term “Turing Complete” to determine a machine or computer’s ability to decide data-manipulation rule sets. He’d also have a role in starting A.I., with the “Turing Test” now used to determine a machine’s ability to show intelligent behavior when comparing it to a human.

Scientific Breakthroughs that Literally Changed Everything
Dolly The Sheep [Image via Jordan Grinnell/Shutterstock.com]

15. Animal Cloning

  • First Done: In 1996 (Dolly The Sheep)

The concept of cloning has been big for a few reasons in the medical community. First, it is important due to the fact that we could possibly use it to clone organs and have them up for use by the person who needs them. Thereby no longer needing donors. We have done this somewhat but not anything as massive as what is needed.

Scientific Breakthroughs that Literally Changed Everything
Photo Credit: Europarl

The second thing that makes cloning important is that we can create something from the past that has been deceased. Specifically, extinct animals. However, ever since Dolly the Sheep became the first successful animal clone, we’ve been cloning animals using surrogates. While the science is not quite where it needs to be to bring back a Dinosaur, for example, we’re getting close. As a result, it shouldn’t surprise you in 2030 when Jurassic Park actually opens. Although 5 movies tell us this is a bad idea…

Scientific Breakthroughs that Literally Changed Everything
Man Playing VR Game [Image via Coin Revolution]

14. Entertainment Technology

  • Includes: Film, Television, Radio, Video Games & Consoles, Virtual & Augmented Reality, Streaming

There is not enough time in the day to go over how long “entertainment” itself has been a thing in society. Obviously, we have had plays and books for years that offered this to people. Yet in the 1900s, Thomas Edison helped to deliver the world of film to the masses. Before this, we were learning about how electromagnetism worked in order to see the radio work for the first time. Eventually, television came to the masses with only a few channels.

Scientific Breakthroughs that Literally Changed Everything
Photo Credit: Transforming The Nation

Then cable television and premium television came about, along with the concept of closed-circuit and Pay-Per-View. Changing the game further was the invention of video games and eventually both VR & AR. Finally, we moved into ways where the person had more control; streaming. Originally starting with places like YouTube & Netflix, it quickly became the way most of us see entertainment programming today. All of these must be considered some of the greatest scientific breakthroughs in human history.

Scientific Breakthroughs that Literally Changed Everything
Space Travel [Image via Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock.com]

13. Space Exploration

  • Includes: Moon Landing, Explorer I, Juno, Pioneer 10, Sputnik, Voyager

Our Earth was not good enough, because mankind looked up and wanted to be among the stars. Today, we know far more than people like Galileo & Jules Verne knew in their respective time periods. However, it is their curiosity along with the curiosity of several scientists that led us to where we are today. One of our biggest scientific breakthroughs ever was putting a man on the moon. We’ve now done it about 10 times.

Scientific Breakthroughs that Literally Changed Everything
Photo Credit: Global Aero

On top of this, we sent satellites into space like Voyager, Explorer I, Pioneer, and many more. Each satellite was made to go on a journey where they’d capture images of everything they came across and send them back. This allowed us to get up-close images of places like Saturn & Jupiter with more images coming. Major telescopes like the Gran Telescopio Canarias have also led to us seeing major new stars, solar systems, and galaxies too.

Scientific Breakthroughs that Literally Changed Everything
Computer-Generated Version Of Higgs Boson [Image via Sakkmesterke/Shutterstock.com]

12. Large Hadron Collider & Higgs Boson

  • Invented Or Found By: CERN (Large Hadron Collider) and Peter Higgs & François Englert (Higgs Boson)

The Large Hadron Collider was made by the European Organization for Nuclear Research or CERN. We don’t get the nickname either, honestly. We should say that there is some confusion regarding whether or not this is a particle accelerator or particle collider. In the most technical sense, it’s both. It has been useful in many discoveries, but the biggest by far is the Higgs Boson.

Scientific Breakthroughs that Literally Changed Everything
Photo Credit: Universe Today

Peter Higgs along with 5 other scientists proposed the Higgs Mechanism all the way back in 1964. This explained why particles have mass but obviously there was a need for more proof. The LHC helped to confirm this in 2012 and in 2013 both Peter Higgs & François Engler were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for this. The Higgs Boson is a huge discovery because the Higgs Particle, a Boson, is thought to be responsible for all physical forces. Talk about massive scientific breakthroughs!

Scientific Breakthroughs that Literally Changed Everything
Man Looking At Mathematical Equations [Image via Frankie’s/Shutterstock.com]

11. Mathematics

  • Invented By: Ancient Egyptians, Persians, Babylonians, Greeks

Mathematics itself has several inventors and has been around in some form for thousands of years. It is likely that simplistic math like adding & subtracting, though not recorded by people at the time, could be over 10,000 years old. Ancient Babylonians invented the really first true set of early Mathematics. Ancient Persians invented Algebra while the Greeks had a major role in several forms of it.

Scientific Breakthroughs that Literally Changed Everything
Photo Credit: Medium

Pythagoras shaped Math for the world and his school helped to teach it to any who wanted to know. Meanwhile, Ancient Egyptians and Chinese invented early forms of Calculus but it did not work as well as hoped. However, Archimedes of Syracuse essentially invented Geometry, which allowed Calculus to properly operate. When the likes of Isaac Newton formed his version, it changed the game on Math even further. We have used it in many forms for things like Engineering, Economics, Medicine, and much more.

Scientific Breakthroughs that Literally Changed Everything
Modern Form Of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man [Image via Christos Georghiou/Shutterstock.com]

10. Understanding Of Human Anatomy

  • Includes: Invention Of Medicine, Discovery Of Blood Types, Biology, Chemistry, etc.

The world of human anatomy was massive in the Ancient World. The Ancient Egyptians, Chinese, and Greeks likely played the most critical role in our understanding of early anatomy. Eventually, the Romans and many more added to it. There are a few main people that helped the world of anatomy the most. The first is the Greek Physician Hippocrates. We still use some of his surgical concepts today and doctors even take the Hippocratic Oath, which promises to “do no harm.”

Scientific Breakthroughs that Literally Changed Everything
Photo Credit: Scientific American

Another important figure in this was Galen, yet another Greek Physician. He was wrong about several things but was a huge asset to early pathology, pharmacology, neurology, biology, and much more. Yet Galen had flaws in some of his concepts due to only doing animal autopsies. Eventually, Andreas Vesalius questioned Galen’s work around 1,300 years later. It was Vesalius’ discoveries on the human body that now shape human anatomy today.

Scientific Breakthroughs that Literally Changed Everything
Retro Lightbulbs [Image via TWStock/Shutterstock.com]

9. Electricity

  • Main People Involved: Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla/George Westinghouse

Thomas Edison was already a notable inventor before he’d jump into the world of electricity. In fact, we now credit him with several inventions like the Phonograph and even improving the telephone. However, upon moving into electricity he was the leader in the world of Direct Current. This was one of the biggest scientific breakthroughs in history and by the early 1900s, it was used all over.

Scientific Breakthroughs that Literally Changed Everything
Photo Credit: Thought Co

However, DC used up a lot of power and could only flow in one direction. This forced a need to have power plants relatively close. In an interesting note, Edison hired Nikola Tesla who was tasked with fixing these ailing power stations. Yet he had a better idea for electricity in the form of an Alternating Current, which took less power to operate and flowed both ways. He’d leave Edison behind and partner with the wealthy George Westinghouse to bring AC to the world. AC is now the form of electricity most of us use daily.

Scientific Breakthroughs that Literally Changed Everything
Planet Earth [Image via SyFy]

8. Planet Knowledge

  • Important Figures In These Discoveries: Nicolaus Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, Léon-Philippe Teisserenc de Bort, Richard Aßmann, Pythagoras, Georg Hartmann, Robert Norman, Christian Doppler

Earth, as well as our sun and the solar system, were heavily debated for centuries. Copernicus was the one who discovered that the Earth rotates around the sun, which was the true center of our solar system. Galileo Galilei spoke to this as well and via his telescope, was able to find other planets like Jupiter. Yet they were playing on assumptions made by ancient astronomers from Egypt, Greece, and many others.

Scientific Breakthroughs that Literally Changed Everything
Photo Credit: Pbs

Greek Mathematician Pythagoras reasoned if the moon was round then the Earth must be too. Around 1900, Léon-Philippe Teisserenc de Bort and Richard Aßmann discovered the 5 atmospheric layers (Troposphere, Stratosphere, Mesosphere, Thermosphere, Exosphere). Georg Hartmann and Robert Norman independently discovered the Earth’s magnetic field while Christian Doppler is responsible for discovering the Doppler Effect. All are critical scientific breakthroughs.

Scientific Breakthroughs that Literally Changed Everything
Milk In Pasteurization Process [Image via RGtimeline/Shutterstock.com]

7. Pasteurization

  • Invented By: Louis Pasteur

Louis Pasteur was an incredible French Chemist and Biologist who invented several life-changing things for the world. The most notable is clearly Pasteurization. The latter might be one of the most significant and world-changing inventions ever. Pasteurization has to do with making things safe to drink or eat.

Scientific Breakthroughs that Literally Changed Everything
Photo Credit: Arrell Food Institute

Essentially, water and certain packaged or unpackaged foods are treated with heat to completely destroy pathogens. This kills bad bacteria and can even extend the shelf life of an item. It eliminates the risk of diseases yet can’t kill bacterial spores. This is why it needs a second round of this too, which completely eliminates any problems. Store-bought Milk and Fruit Juice, for example, are safe to drink for life as a result of this invention.

Scientific Breakthroughs that Literally Changed Everything
Man Evolving [Image via Research Features]

6. How Life Came To Be

  • Includes: Evolution & The Big Bang Theory

While some battle against both Evolution and the Big Bang Theory, science actually backs both completely. In 1927, Georges Lemaître was the first to note that the expanding universe could be traced back to an originating point, which he actually called the “primeval atom.” We now simply call it the Big Bang Theory. In 1929, Edwin Hubble then found after much analysis that galactic redshifts are drifting from one another, which confirmed an expanding universe.

Scientific Breakthroughs that Literally Changed Everything
Photo Credit: Tech Explorist

Finally, in 1964, the Cosmic Microwave Background was discovered and, along with more physics discoveries, pretty much confirmed the universe started with a bang. Yet it was Charles Darwin & Alfred Russel Wallace who proposed natural selection and the theory of evolution. This dictated that only the strong survived and thus, each species developed key traits to do so over several generations. This included how humans eventually evolved into what we are today. Both were insanely crucial scientific breakthroughs.

Scientific Breakthroughs that Literally Changed Everything
Numerous Antibiotic Medications [Image via Texas A&M Health Science Center]

5. Antibiotics

  • Invented By: Alexander Fleming

While infections could be cured somewhat for centuries by various medications, this was never considered to be 100% effective. Most of these infections would tend to be open wounds, which can be treated with numerous herbal remedies. Yet infections within the body were hard to cure, at least that was until Alexander Fleming came along.

Scientific Breakthroughs that Literally Changed Everything
Photo Credit: Health Harvard

Already a notable Biologist & Physician, Fleming had been looking into staphylococci. This led him to work with the fungus known as “Penicillin sp.” He left his lab one night, having accidentally left an opening to the staph near the fungus. Upon returning, he discovered the fungus essentially killed the staph. Eventually, the Penicillin Drug came to be as an antibiotic that we still use today. Due to its invention, several other antibiotics have popped up ever since. In fact, we make many for specific infection types too.

Scientific Breakthroughs that Literally Changed Everything
Watson Railroad Car Manufacturing Company [Image via Everett Historical/Shutterstock.com]

4. True Industrial Revolution

  • Includes The Inventions: Automobiles, Steam Engine, Ships, etc.

While we call this the Industrial Revolution, we’d like to make sure to note that this was mainly used to highlight the period of time in England. However, this industrial period was on full display all across Europe and the United States. Most tend to highlight the years it ran from 1760 to 1840. However, the true industrial revolution extends the end date to around 1900.

Scientific Breakthroughs that Literally Changed Everything
Photo Credit: Fee

A major part of this was the Steam Engine, which had been invented in the early 1700s. Yet James Watt’s improvement on this in 1776 made it a crucial aid in travel. Robert Fulton’s invention of the first commercially successful steamship was crucial for travel and delivery. Yet he’d also invent the submarine to help in wartimes. Finally, Karl Benz invented the automobile in 1886, which became a massive asset to society

Scientific Breakthroughs that Literally Changed Everything
MMR Vaccine [Image via MTPR.org]

3. Vaccines

  • Major Developers: Louis Pasteur, Jonas Salk, Albert Calmette, Camille Guerin, Edward Jenner, David Smith, Ian Frazier

Vaccines were first implemented by China in the 10th Century to help against smallpox. This expanded when Edward Jenner developed the smallpox vaccine in 1796, however. Louis Pasteur then developed the vaccines for Cholera in 1880, Anthrax in 1881, & Rabies in 1885. Albert Calmette & Camille Guerin together invented the vaccines for Tuberculosis with the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) Vaccine in 1922.

Scientific Breakthroughs that Literally Changed Everything
Photo Credit: Nbc News

However, Albert alone invented the first antivenom for snakebites. Jonas Salk with Thomas Francis invented the first Influenza Vaccine in 1933 while Salk on his own invented the Polio Vaccine in 1952. David Smith made the vaccine for Haemophilus influenza, which often gave infants pneumonia and meningitis. Meanwhile, Ian Frazier invented the vaccine for cervical cancer, genital warts, and anogenital cancers in 2006.

Scientific Breakthroughs that Literally Changed Everything
The Earth Connected Via Internet [Image via NicoElNino/Shutterstock.com]

2. The Internet

  • Inventor: Tim Berners-Lee

The Internet is clearly one of the world’s biggest scientific breakthroughs. In fact, you’re all here reading this list as a result of it. The man responsible for its invention officially is Tim Berners-Lee on December 20, 1990. He did this while working with the European Organization for Nuclear Research. In fact, the first webpage is credited to them, known as info.cern.ch.

Scientific Breakthroughs that Literally Changed Everything
Photo Credit: Inc

You can click on the website to see what it looks like today. Of course, this did not become a major thing until we were able to invent Wi-Fi which is thanks in part to Hedy Lamarr and Nikola Tesla for their work in Wireless technology decades ago. Yet their ideas are in the tech of today that gives us Wi-Fi, which only helps the internet reach more places worldwide.

Scientific Breakthroughs that Literally Changed Everything
DNA Gene Editing [Image via vchal/Shutterstock.com]

1. Gene Editing/CRISPR

  • CRISPR First Proposed By: Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier

The world changed in 2012 when Jennifer Doudna & Emmanuelle Charpentier proposed that the CRISPR-Cas9 was possible to program and thereby edit genomes. CRISPR-Cas9 are enzymes from bacteria that control microbial immunity, which can allow us to edit genomes/genes. This basically means that we can theoretically edit out sections of our DNA where diseases are.

Scientific Breakthroughs that Literally Changed Everything
Photo Credit: New Scientist

This includes even enhancing the person in some ways. The biggest thing it will likely help us with is the treatment of blood disorders or diseases such as Leukemia and AIDS. The idea is that we can remove and then modify human cells to remove issues. Those edited and improved cells are then put back into the body in an effort to rid the person of the disease. There’s still a lot more we need to do in this area, but this is one of the scientific breakthroughs that could theoretically extend lives, and end horrific diseases for good.