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2020 highlights | Future Timeline Blog

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1st January 2021

2020 highlights

Goodbye 2020, and hello 2021!

These were our top 20 most viewed blogs of 2020, in reverse order.

Amid all the doom and gloom in the world, some impressive scientific discoveries and technological breakthroughs occurred, as we hope you’ll agree!



2nd July 2020

Fastest-growing black hole identified

In July 2020, astronomers at the Australian National University (ANU) reported that J2157 is now known to have 34 billion solar masses and is consuming the equivalent of our Sun’s mass every day, making it the fastest-growing black hole ever detected in the Universe. Read more »





21st May 2020

Election model predicts landslide defeat for Trump

In May 2020, a model by Oxford Economics predicted that Trump would lose the electoral college by 328 to 210. Read more »





24th May 2020

World’s fastest Internet speed: 44.2 Tbps

In May 2020, Australian scientists achieved a new world’s fastest Internet speed using a single optical chip, at 44.2 terabits per second (Tbps), which is about a million times faster than a typical home broadband connection. Read more »





25th May 2020

Giant new offshore wind turbine to debut in 2024

In May 2020, Spanish engineering company Siemens Gamesa revealed the SG 14-222 DD – a new offshore wind turbine, set to become the world’s largest and most powerful, with serial production planned for 2024. Read more »





9th November 2020

First passengers travel safely on a Hyperloop

In November, the team at Virgin tested human travel in a Hyperloop pod for the first time. Read more »





23rd November 2020

CRISPR-based treatment destroys two cancer types

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In November, researchers at Tel Aviv University (TAU) in Israel demonstrated that the CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing system is highly effective in treating brain and ovarian cancers, without side effects. Read more »





10th January 2020

Longevity breakthrough: 500% increase in nematode lifespan

Progress with longevity extension continued in 2020. Among the more impressive breakthroughs in animal models occurred in January, when scientists identified “synergistic cellular pathways” to amplify the lifespan of C. elegans by as much as 500%. Read more »





26th August 2020

Progress towards a cure for herpes

In August, scientists used gene editing to remove latent herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1), also known as oral herpes, from mice. Read more »





31st August 2020

50-fold increase in transistor density is possible by 2030

In August, Intel’s Chief Architect, Raja Koduri, presented a roadmap for increasing the number of transistors able to fit on a chip by a factor of 50. This could enable the trend of exponential progress in computer technology, known as Moore’s Law, to continue. Read more »





4th April 2020

World’s oceans can be restored by 2050

We often hear gloomy predictions about the environment. However, returning marine life to abundance “is at least technically feasible” by 2050, according to an international study published in April 2020, which cites humpback whale numbers as an example of what can be achieved. Read more »





28th March 2020

COVID-19 is natural, not man-made

In March 2020, scientists published a peer-reviewed study in the journal Nature Medicine, finding no evidence that COVID-19 was made in a laboratory or otherwise engineered – based on detailed analysis of public genome data from SARS-CoV-2 and related viruses. Read more »

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20th June 2020

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Possible first detection of axion particle

In June 2020, physicists at the XENON dark matter research facility in Italy reported an “excess” of 53 events, which may hint at the existence of hypothetical particles called solar axions. Read more »





5th September 2020

Largest known black hole merger is confirmed

A major astronomical discovery occurred in September 2020, when researchers confirmed the largest known black hole merger. This also provided the first clear evidence of an intermediate-mass black hole – lying mid-way between a regular black hole and the supermassive giants at the centre of galaxies. Read more »





17th October 2020

Superconductivity achieved at 15°C

After more than a century of research in this field, a room-temperature superconductor finally emerged in 2020, when a team from two universities in the USA demonstrated a material able to work at 15°C – an improvement of 28°C over the previous record. In the future, this technology could have revolutionary potential in all kinds of areas, such as new hovering or flying vehicles, quantum computers, and major advances in energy. Read more »





18th May 2020

A potentially major breakthrough in anti-aging medicine

Another of the predictions on our timeline became a reality in 2020, when scientists presented evidence that young blood plasma given to older mice reduced aging by an average of 54% across multiple tissues; and had an impact on various other signs of aging. Longevity expert Aubrey de Grey had predicted major progress in the field back in 2008 (see video below). Read more »





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11th August 2020

Ceres confirmed to be water-rich world

In August, researchers confirmed that the dwarf planet Ceres is a water-rich body, containing a deep reservoir of brine, based on analysis of gravity data and other measurements from the Dawn probe. Read more »





29th October 2020

Apophis asteroid may be heading for Earth in 2068

Observations of the near-Earth asteroid, Apophis, have already ruled out a collision with our planet in 2029 and 2036. However, the discovery of a new orbital characteristic in October 2020 suggests that a collision in the year 2068 remains a possibility. Read more »





2nd February 2020

Nanoparticle eats away plaque that causes heart attacks

In February 2020, Michigan State University and Stanford University scientists created a nanoparticle that eats away – from the inside out – portions of plaques that cause heart attacks. Read more »





5th August 2020

Vertical farming of wheat: up to 600 times greater yield

In August 2020, a study found that wheat grown using a 10-layer, indoor vertical farm could – in theory – have a yield between 220 and 600 times greater than current farming methods. Read more »





12th November 2020

New algorithm provides 50 times faster deep learning

In November, AI research company Numenta announced a major performance improvement in deep learning networks. Their new system, based on a principle of the brain called “sparsity”, enables a 50-fold leap in processing speed – once again demonstrating the rapid rate of progress in forms of information technology. Read more »






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