Inventions from laboratory accidents, toxic molluscs, and scientific units fabricated from paper are simply a few of the extra obscure, extraordinary, or advanced advances that have been honored with awards honoring investigations that have had an enormous, surprising affect on society. .
The 2022 Golden Goose Awards, organized by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, honored three groups of scientists for his or her analysis tasks that turned out to be astonishing and unprecedented discoveries.
AAAC Executive Director and AAAC Executive Editor Sudeep S. “The Golden Goose award reminds us that potential discoveries could be hidden wherever and illustrates the advantages of investing in fundamental analysis,” mentioned Parikh. publications
Here are this yr’s award-winning discoveries, which shine a light-weight on the unpredictable paths of science and the advantages of investing in analysis that won’t repay instantly.
The revolutionary paper microscope that’s rocking science
More than a decade in the past, Stanford University bioengineer Manu Prakash was on a discipline journey to the Thai jungle as a part of his rabies analysis, when he got here up with the concept for an inexpensive, easy-to-use microscope.
“I noticed a $50,000 microscope [cerca de 50.000 euros] Locked in a room, in the woods of nowhere. It was an ironic second. I spotted straight away that it was not the precise software,” mentioned Prakash, affiliate professor and senior fellow on the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University.
Why are these important scientific devices which can be able to serving to diagnose a devastating illness like malaria not getting used? They were cumbersome and difficult to move, requiring the coaching and upkeep required to deal with them. He defined that the instrument was so delicate and costly that even educated technicians were afraid to make use of it.
Prakash envisioned a reasonable microscope that may very well be used by anybody, wherever, however highly effective sufficient to see a single bacterium. Along together with his colleague Jim Cybulski, Prakash created the foldscope – a flat microscope fabricated from paper and with a single spherical lens.
“It took a number of engineering. In the primary section, it was subsequent to a multi-million greenback microscope laboratory. We needed to make a microscope for the greenback value.”
At first, folks thought the concept was a bit foolish, Prakash mentioned, and getting funding for the undertaking was a problem.
We have reached 2022. The FoldScope is not as low cost as a greenback, however its manufacturing price of $1.75 is a fraction of the price of most lab gear. The ultimate magnification of the telescope is about 140x, which is highly effective sufficient to see malaria parasites in cells. The units have been deployed in many purposes world wide. In India final yr, FoldScope was used to determine a brand new pressure of cyanobacterium. The microscope additionally helped determine counterfeit medicine, Prakash mentioned.
Prakash mentioned that FoldScope – and the premise of frugal science in common – performs a vital function in a world filled with misinformation: “I wish to put science in everybody’s fingers. Make it extra private. We are connecting the scientific course of to on a regular basis life.”
A facet undertaking that revolutionized neuroscience
Scientists working in the Philippines in the Seventies, biochemist Baldomero Oliveira and Lourdes Cruz, professor emeritus on the University of the Philippines in Diliman, struggled to get the precise gear to review DNA.
“We needed to seek out one thing that did not require refined gear as a result of we did not have any,” Olivera, a distinguished professor of organic sciences on the University of California, San Diego, mentioned in a video ready for the Golden Goose award.
Oliveira and Cruz created what they hoped could be a productive facet undertaking. Cone snails are frequent in the Philippines and have at all times fascinated Olivera, who collected shells as a baby. The pair determined to analyze the character of the poison used to paralyze small fish eaten by snails.
The group discovered that the bioactive compounds in the venom are small proteins often called peptides. After transferring to the US and working with graduate college students on the University of Utah, Michael McIntosh and the late Craig T. Joined by Clark, Olivera, and Cruz, Olivera and Cruz discovered that sure venom peptides reacted in a different way in mice than in fish and frogs. It turned out that in mammals the compounds were concerned in the feeling of ache relatively than muscle paralysis.
“We noticed an unbelievable gold mine of compounds,” McIntosh mentioned. He is presently Professor of Psychiatry and Director of Research in the Department of Biological Sciences on the University of Utah.
Study of a kind of compound in the venom often called omega-conotoxin led to the event of a strong ache reliever, ziconotide, identified commercially as Prialt.
His work with conotoxins has additionally revolutionized neuroscience. Other scientists at the moment are exploring the potential of utilizing conotoxins to deal with quite a lot of circumstances, together with dependancy, epilepsy and diabetes.
How a lab accident led to a approach to enhance imaginative and prescient
The most well-known laboratory accident in the historical past of science, when one in every of Alexander Fleming’s Petri dishes turned contaminated with mildew, led to the invention of the primary antibiotic, penicillin, in 1928.
Little identified is the laboratory accident that contributed to the event of LASIK, a laser process to right imaginative and prescient issues together with myopia and farsightedness. This is a process that has already allowed hundreds of thousands of individuals world wide to maintain their glasses effectively.
In the early Nineteen Nineties, Datao Du was a graduate scholar in the laboratory of Gérard Mauro, a French physicist and professor on the University of Michigan. Morrow, together with Canadian physicist Donna Strickland, developed an optical method that produces brief, intense laser pulses that may penetrate exact factors with out damaging the encircling materials. For this discovery, Morrow and Strickland, professors in the Department of Physics and Astronomy on the University of Waterloo in Canada, gained the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics.
While working in the lab one evening, Du unintentionally lifted his goggles whereas aligning the mirrors of a femtosecond laser, then a more moderen kind of laser that emitted a really brief pulse of sunshine. A stray beam hit Du’s eyeball.
“He got here to my workplace very nervous. I used to be afraid they might shut the lab,” mentioned Morrow, who suggested Du to see a health care provider.
Doo was handled by Ron Kurtz, then a medical scholar intern on the University of Michigan’s Kellogg Ophthalmological Center.
“When we opened the attention, what I noticed was a really small quantity of retinal burns proper in the middle of the retina,” Kurtz mentioned in a video created for the Golden Goose Awards. “I used to be curious to know what sort of laser it was.”
Convinced that it would have a medical software, Kurtz met with Morrow’s group and performed analysis with Du, who rapidly recovered from his harm. A yr later, he introduced his findings at an optics convention in Toronto in 1994. There he met and joined a researcher learning lasers for imaginative and prescient enchancment named Tibor Juhaz, then a analysis scientist on the University of California. . In 1997, Kurtz and Juhasz based IntraLase, an organization centered on commercializing the LASIK bladeless method for corrective eye surgical procedure.
Mauro mentioned he by no means imagined his precision laser would have purposes past physics. He thanked the college administration for not shutting down the laboratory as feared, regardless of demanding higher security protocols. Instead, administration funded some investigations that led to corrective eye surgical procedure methods.
“It took an accident to make a brand new specialty emerge,” mentioned Morrow, who added that Du’s harm didn’t completely injury him.