Have you ever stopped walking while outside to take a look at everything around you and wonder “Wow, did man really create all this?” I am sure you did just like I did when I was a little boy. Everything is already laid out for you to enjoy but when did anyone give credit to the people who really mattered in humanity’s history?
The 1990s was a decade that helped us progress to the new millennium easily without the guilt of not having reclaimed our last years before switching over to a new era. Scientists played a big role in this and the discoveries made, especially the scientific ones, were so great that some of them still baffle us today, two decades later.
However, today we will take a look at 15 of the most important ones so that we can make a tribute to all those brilliant minds that helped us with the things they’ve created to live in a better world.
15. Dolly The “Special” Sheep
Using nuclear transfer, the first-ever cloning of a mammal was a success back in 1996. This achievement wasn’t taken very positively by the majority of the public, as people didn’t like the idea of man playing God.
Everyone thought that Dolly the sheep, as it was referred to, wouldn’t live many years as it was the first animal of its kind and complications were believed to take place. However, the sheep made it all the way to her sixth year and after more than 2 decades from its creation, people still often talk about it. Just so you know, sheep usually live up to an average of 10-12 years.
14. Hale-Bopp coinciding with a mass suicide
Back in 1997, the comet named Hale-Bopp passed the sun for the first time after approximately 4,300 years according to the speculation of scientists working on the occurrence. However, the comet wasn’t the thing that most people remember about those days.
5 days prior to the comet passing the Sun (April 1st), a massive 39-member suicide took place on the 26th of March. All of the individuals were members of a cult named Heaven’s Gate and believed that a UFO was behind the comet which would “save” them from the apocalypse the comet would cause by altering Earth’s rotation.
13. The World Wide Web
See this man in the picture? This is the guy you should be thanking for this thing we all call Internet. This article would simply not exist if it weren’t for him and his great mind. The name of this man is Tim Berners-Lee. Even though the World Wide Web was created back in 1989, it was tested for the first time by him on December 20th at CERN.
12. The Phenomenon That Is Google
Did you seriously think that Google wouldn’t be on this list? We have even made it a verb for god’s sakes. “What is that?” “Google it” is a regular conversation in our daily routines. So back in 1996 just one year after the Internet became commercial, Google started indexing all the sites available at the time.
The reason you can see the link “Stanford Search” is because of the two creators of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, studied at Stanford University and their dorm room was the very first home were Google’s server was located. At first, the majority of its users were other Stanford students.
11. FlavrSavr Tomato
The Flavr Savr Tomato, pronounced Flavor Saver, was the very first genetically modified tomato to get approved and legally sold to the public. The tomato wouldn’t rot as easily as normal ones and by keeping its usual form, the juices and all the flavor would remain untouched hence the name of it, Flavor Saver.
After it managed to outsell natural varieties, even more special versions would come out, tasting better and being sold at a premium price. Even though there wasn’t any evidence of it being harmful to a person’s health, the Flavr Savr tomato started to lose its reputation. It lasted from 1994 to 1997.
10. Galileo Probe
The year was 1995, and the Galileo Probe reached Jupiter for the first and started to study the planet as well as its moons. The small spacecraft was the very first one to do so and on September 21, 2003, after 14 years being in space, it was finally destroyed.
Some years prior to that, the fuels were running low, and the team operating it from Earth was scared it would contaminate Jupiter’s moon with bacteria as Galileo hadn’t been sterilized before being launched. It entered Jupiter’s atmosphere at a speed of approximately 173,000 km/h and the total mission cost about 1.4$ US billion.
9. Oriental Pearl Tower
Back in 1994, the construction of the Oriental Pearl Radio and TV Tower was finally over. It is 468m high and until the Shanghai World Financial Center was built, it was also the tallest building you could find in China.
But it wasn’t built just to be a beautiful landmark. Its creation was dedicated to representing the investments that made Eastern China’s wealth rise very much. It also serves as an antenna (the top part), there is a restaurant included, and a view sighting deck.
8. Mars Pathfinder
The date of July 4th, 1997, is a golden page in NASA’s history files. It’s the day when the Mars Pathfinder landed on Mars. The robotic spacecraft included a small roving probe which weighted just below 11kgs, 10.6 to be precise, and is the cute little thing you can see in the picture attached above.
7. Gene Therapy
On September 14, 1990, a huge step for medical science was achieved. The very first successful gene therapy was carried out. The patient’s white blood cells were removed, treated by being infused with the missing gene, and then injected back into the bloodstream.
Since then, more than 2,300 similar operations have been conducted. Just to get a glimpse of how much money goes into research for this specific kind of operation, more than 600$ million US was invested just in 2013-2014 by US companies.
6. intracytoplasmic sperm injection
There are two kinds of IVF (In Vitro Fertilization), the conventional one and the ICSI (Insta Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection). The latter one was invented and started being used in the 1990s. It was a great success as many couples couldn’t have a baby on their own due to various medical reasons.
With this procedure however, what we nowadays call test tube babies, became reality. The best thing is that those babies often will not have many diseases as the best kind of spermatozoa is usually selected.
5. Human Genome Project
Inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man (picture above), scientists wanted to start indexing the full genome outline of humans. Counting and presenting all the various DNA sequences, muscles, and everything relevant. Think of it as a human body encyclopedia.
But why was da Vinci’s drawing an inspiration? It depicts the perfect human body proportions and so we, as humans, wanted to do the same by finding out the sequence of all the different pairs of nucleotides in the genetic code, our DNA.
4. Extrasolar Planets
In the year 1992, scientists manage to detect planets out of our solar system that were orbiting stars distinct from the Sun which in a way means that they discovered new solar systems. As of now, we have discovered about 2,780 systems and approximately 3,700 planets.
Due to various reasons, the quality of life on Earth deteriorates a bit every year that passes, so we are trying to find out a possibly habitable planet for humans. Elon Musk and his project for space travel and human colonies on Mars is one of those attempts.
3. international space station
The year 1996 is one of the most interesting when it comes to outer space exploration. Why? Because this is when the construction of the International Space Station started. It is a fully operational station including living quarters and laboratories for various experiments.
Those experiments can include biology, astronomy, physics, human biology, meteorology and various other ones. One thing is for certain though. If people like Elon Musk continue funding such projects, then a lot of people reading this article may get to travel up there after a decade or two.
2. NSFnet shutting down
Previously we talked about the guy who created the system. Said system was actually initially called NSFnet, short for National Science Foundation Network, and it was primarily used by scientists for advanced research matters. Regular people like you and me couldn’t access it at the time.
So on April 30th, 1995, the system went offline for a commercial version to begin distributing access to the World Wide Web. Search engines started appearing some years afterward like Yahoo and Google.
The Global Positioning System, mostly known as GPS for sort, was created as a project back in 1973 but it became properly operational in 1995. In the image above, you can see one of the very first GPS devices used primarily by the military.
Soon after that, everyone could purchase a device with a GPS receiver as many companies started distributing them for commercial use. Currently, there are 31 functional satellites in Earth’s orbit. Just think about it! When you rely on a GPS you basically are putting your life on the hands of this little device…it is supposed to lead you to your destination in the safest way possible. Does it all the time? That is for another discussion.
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