The field of science has long been known for its bizarre and unexpected experiments. From cloning sheep to sending robots to Mars, scientists have been pushing the boundaries of what we thought was possible for decades. However, in the last decade, some of the experiments performed by scientists have been among the strangest and most surprising ever conducted. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most insane and unexpected experiments of the last ten years.
1. Sleep Deprivation and Reversing Depression
One of the most surprising experiments conducted in the last decade was the use of sleep deprivation as a method of reversing depression. Researchers found that after a 24-hour period of being awake, patients with depression showed a significant improvement in their symptoms. However, this is not a one-size-fits-all approach and the study was conducted in specific conditions with careful observation.
2. Mice with Human Brains
In 2013, scientists at the Salk Institute in California confirmed that they could create mice with human brain cells. The experiment involved transplanting glial cells (a type of brain cell) from a human fetus into the brains of newborn mice. The mice developed brains that were 1% human, 99% mouse. The experiment was conducted to study the effect of glial cells on brain function, to better understand diseases like schizophrenia, autism and multiple sclerosis. Despite the ethical concerns surrounding this experiment, scientists believe it could lead to major breakthroughs in the understanding of the human brain.
3. Curing Paralysis with Electrical Stimulation
In another groundbreaking experiment, the paralysis of a previously injured patient was cured with electrical stimulation. A team of scientists implanted electrodes onto the patient’s spinal cord, when activation with an electrical shock, the patient was able to move his legs and feet. This new hope for paralysis could be life-changing for thousands of people.
4. Using Human DNA to Begin the Process of Photosynthesis
In 2016, scientists at Rutgers University in New Jersey discovered that they could use human DNA to begin the process of photosynthesis. They inserted a human gene into a cyanobacterium (a microbe that uses photosynthesis) to create a bacteria-hybrid capable of processing light into compounds for energy. This experiment was done to create new sources of renewable energy.
5. Teleportation or Spooky Action at a Distance
In the world of quantum physics, unexpected things often happen. One of the most surprising experiments was conducted at the University of Vienna, where researchers demonstrated ‘spooky action at a distance’, a phenomenon that is central to our understanding of quantum physics. This is used to estimate communication over long distances because it shows how entangled particles can affect each other instantly, despite being separated by an enormous distance. Furthermore, it could be used to create a future world of communication without the need of cabling.
6. Gene Editing
In 2012, a set of gene editing experiments was conducted at UC Berkeley, which proved to be groundbreaking. Using the “CRISPR” technique, researchers were able to change the DNA of a multicellular organism. This experiment could lead to human gene therapies, where specific genetic disorders could eventually be treated effectively.
7. Quantum Entanglement in Space
In a somewhat science-fiction-like experiment, researchers at the National University of Singapore successfully proved that quantum entanglement is possible in space. They sent ‘entangled’ photons to a satellite and then to two ground stations 750 miles apart. The experiment was significant because it demonstrated that quantum entanglement could be used to create an extremely secure and unbreakable communication system in the future.
8. The Power of Music for Parkinson’s Disease
In 2016, researchers at the University of Helsinki conducted an experiment on the impact of music on Parkinson’s disease. They found that listening to music triggered a release of dopamine (the feel-good neurotransmitter) in the brain of patients with Parkinson’s. The experiment suggested that music could be used as a therapeutic tool for this disease.
9. Chewing Gum Memory Boost
One of the simplest forms of experiment in this list is the relationship between chewing gum and memory improvement. In 2013, two studies, published in the British Journal of Psychology, showed that chewing gum can increase short-term memory and improve reaction times. These experiments could lead to new and innovative ways of improving cognitive function.
10. Controlling Robots with Your Mind
Scientists at the University of Minnesota made it possible to utilize thoughts to control a robot’s movements. They implanted micro-electrodes in the brain of a monkey and managed to acquire signals that could be translated to a robot. The monkey was able to control the robot’s movements simply by thinking them, without any physical input. In the future, this experiment could lead to humans utilizing thought-powered exoskeletons for greater assistance in mobility.
The field of science has always been a source of wonder to us. The last decade, however, has left us astonished with the bizarre and unexpected experiments conducted by scientists. From reversing depression with sleep deprivation to creating mice with human brains, curing paralysis with electrical stimulation to using quantum entanglement for secure communication, the last decade has been filled with groundbreaking experiments that are advancing our understanding of science at a rapid pace. These experiments may lead us to a world where illnesses can be cured, renewable energy can be secured, and communication can be made more secure.