Question #1CRISPRScience is growing, advancing and inventing new ideas and solutions to change our lives for the better. However, it seems that, in science, genetic conditions cannot be fixed. What if there was a way to correct a, “defective” gene and replace it with one that functions normally? Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier discovered a method that does this when they invented what is known as the CRISPR Cas9. CRISPR allows scientists to correct genes so that genetic diseases can be cured. CRISPR, which stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeat is the future of science.Doudna and Charpentier made this remarkable discovery almost on accident, during an experiment when they were trying to figure out how bacteria are used to fight viral infections. CRISPR has been used and tested on animals like monkeys, mice and even elephants! CRISPR can fix genetic issues helping scientists eliminate diseases such as Cancer, Parkinson’s disease and many more. This genetic technology has also been used in places like China where they changed the genes in a few human embryos. This type of genetic engineering is changing the future of medicine.CRISPR not only fixes damaged DNA, but also records the viruses that the cells have been exposed to. It permits the DNA to be hand-selected, to be plucked out of the virus, and therefore allowing for the insertion of certain bits into the chromosome. Amazingly, this can take place in even plants so that if a plant’s DNA was flawed, CRISPR can go in very carefully and replace and touch only the broken-down DNA.Ultimately, while this technology can be life changing, it can also be life threatening and new laws need govern its use. Even though this type of genetic change isn’t happening in the US right now, we can rest assured that it will happen soon. Editing the human genome and changing the DNA blueprints of our lives can happen any day. CRISPR is the future… not only of science, but also of tomorrow.PenicillinThe discovery of the world’s first antibiotic – Penicillin – is a historic landmark which transformed the way Doctors could use medicine to cure their patients of serious diseases. Dr. Alexander Flemming made this discovery in London at St. Mary’s Hospital in September of 1928. After a vacation, he returned to his lab and examined his petri dishes only to discover that the ones with colonies Staphylococcus aureus had been contaminated with a mold called penicillium notatum. Examining the dishes microscopically, he was surprised when he found that the mold had prevented the staph bacteria from growing. Over the next few weeks, he grew more mold so he would have enough samples to confirm his results. He concluded that there was something in the mold that could be harnessed to fight infectious diseases.A little-known fact was that Flemming did not have the proper qualifications or lab resources to actually make the antibiotic. Pathology professor Dr. Howard Florey, in Oxford University 1938, read a paper about it in THE BRITISH JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL PATHOLOGY and immediately started experimenting with the penicillium mold. He isolated the mold juice and purified it, which produced a crude penicillium mold culture fluid extract or in other words, penicillin, as well as figure out what diseases it cured. In the 1940’s they experimented with it on mice and found the ones with the penicillin survived the deadly streptococcus bacterial disease. In 1940 a policeman was infected and after 5 penicillin injections, he began to recover, but because they didn’t have enough he died. During World War 1 penicillin played a vital key in saving many lives. By May 1942 400 million units of pure penicillin was manufactured by 4 pharmaceutical companies. 4 scientists, Flemming, Florey, Chain, and Heatley were given Nobel prizes for the discovery of Penicillin. Even though we seem to give all the credit to Flemming.My great-grandmother and I have both suffered from severe ear infections at a young age, yet, since they didn’t have antibiotics like penicillin when she was young, she lost more than 80% of her hearing while doctors were able to treat me and put my hearing back to 100%. Penicillin changed the course of medicine today and saved many lives as well! It sent scientists down a road to discover many more antibiotics and made life threatening diseases be easily cured.Question #2Homeopathy – The Pseudoscience of Like Cures LikeHomeopathy was created by Samuel Hahnemann in 1796. The main idea behind it is that if you treat a sick person with an animal or plant extract, that would evoke the illness in a normal person, then they will get better. For example, if someone were to get poison ivy, then according to homeopathy, you can extract some of the poison from the plant, and give it back to the person, then they will recover. Scientists are completely against homeopathy, calling it snake oil, that fool’s consumers.There were major studies around the world, analyzing homeopathic treatments. In 2015, there was a large Australian study examining 1800 papers that proved that homeopathy was completely ineffective in treating health conditions. They also discovered that there weren’t any well designed studies with sufficient numbers of participants to show that the medicine worked any better than a placebo or that it caused improvements in health as effective as allopathic treatment.I think people who are using homeopathic remedies with chronic or serious illnesses are placing themselves in extreme risk or danger, this includes nearly 4 million Americans. Because of this danger the Food and Drug Administration proposed stricter rules for homeopathic products and holding them to the same high standards required of allopathic drugs. I think it is good that this research has led to homeopathic drug-makers being required to provide reliable scientific analysis to back their claims if they want to sell their products to U.S. consumers. The government should put a stop to these fraudulent alternative treatments, which will shut down the 3-billion-dollar industry behind it.The Debate on Climate Change (Global Warming)Scientists have maintained records of the climates from the earth’s past and continue to build up a repository of information using geological information. Another word for climate change is also known as global warming, which is caused by human activity, which has affected the earth’s natural environment. Global warming causes the earth’s surface temperature to increase. Climate change is the increase in greenhouse gas levels as well as global warming.Challenging scientific discoveries are important for its development. The free exchange of ideas through debates are important for the intellectual and social well-being of society as it prevents people from believing hoaxes and ensuring the integrity of science. For more than thirty years, climatologists have warned us of the dangers of the emission of greenhouse gases into the earth’s atmosphere, claiming that this can be disastrous for the future generations of our earth. In the U.S, there is denial from some factions of society, including politicians, who create environmental policies, as well as some scientists, who choose to ignore the data and don’t look at the importance of global warming. The stories they tell are based on fictional facts, using distorted data, and have the goal of immediate political or economic gain.I believe that this kind of pseudoscience can have serious consequences on our earth. For example, when the ice in the arctic melts, polar bears are losing their habitats, or, when sea levels rise, land gets submerged, creating floods and displacing a lot of people and killing a lot more. So it is foolish to not believe and act on the science of climate change and global warming. We need to make progress in the right direction, and get facts to be heard louder than opinions, and action has to be taken to prevent any further eroding of the earth’s atmosphere from the highest levels of the government down to the common man. Hopefully pollution will be brought under control and our blue planet can still be saved.Question #3Solar PanelsIn 1839, Alexandre Edmond Becquerel theorized the we could use sunlight and generate it into electricity. This was researched extensively but they didn’t have the sufficient knowledge needed to actually build a solar panel. Then in 1941, Russell Ohl invented the first real solar cell, shortly after the transistor was invented.Mankind is always looking for new sources of renewable energy. Other sources of energy such as fossil fuels, coal and natural gas are being depleted and cause harm to the environment. However, the sun is the most powerful source, freely available to us and proves to be the best source of energy. Also, it does not emit any greenhouse gases so it is good for our environment. We can use that energy for everyday uses such as light, heat, and cooling and then covert that energy into electricity to power homes, businesses, and even cars.So what is the process of turning sunlight into something we can use? One of the common technologies used is solar photovoltaic (PV). When light photons strike certain types of metals (or other substances), it causes the surface of it to release electrons. Light reaching other compounds causes the substance to “accept” the electrons. These two compounds, combined, allow the electrons to flow through a conductor and create electricity. This is called the photoelectric effect. Photovoltaic, or PV, is sunlight converted into electricity.The second way we capture the sun’s energy is by a method called solar thermal; this turns sunlight into heat. At low temperatures we can heat water or air for houses and buildings. We can also concentrate sunlight causing much high temperatures turning water into steam to spin turbines that gives electricity.Both these processes prove to be low cost and environmentally friendly to produce. The need to power our economy will constantly increase but engineers are keeping up to speed and designing new and creative ways to provide energy.Robot Assistance SurgeryNormally surgeons operate on patients through large incisions, requiring greater surgical skills, more pain, and longer recovery times. In the year 2000, the FDA approved the first robotic surgical system. The most popular robotic surgical instrument is the Da Vinci Si. Since then, it has been widely used in hospitals across the United States. The system includes a camera arm and many mechanical arms with surgical instruments on them. The surgeon uses a computer console in the OR to control the arms. The camera gives him a magnified 3-dimensional view of the part of the body giving him a detailed view of the inside of the patient far better than the human eye can see. This system allows the surgeon maximum movement and precision, requiring the surgery to be “minimally invasive”. Miniaturized surgical instruments are used for the process. The robot mimics the surgeons every move, just like playing a video game! This advanced technology allows doctors to perform extremely complicated cardiovascular, gynecological, ophthalmological, neurosurgery, and other serious surgical procedures. There is also less trauma on the body and recovery is quicker.Computer assisted surgery does not require the surgeon to be present or in the building, but can be remotely anywhere in the world! Of special interest to me, is robot assisted minimally invasive or laparoscopic surgery for children. This assistance allows the hospital to offer various types of surgeries for ailing children, even unborn ones. In Washington, Seattle Children’s Hospital has a world renown robotics surgical program. The robot has been nicknamed, Blinky the surgeonator. With expertise in 40 distinct types of surgeries, teens as wells as young children are surgically well cared for. These newer medical advancements are very impressive and I am excited to see how they keep updating this!