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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.