What Discovery Did You Find Most Interesting or Surprising?

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BillTre

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Which Scientific Discovery (that you've experienced during your life) has been the most interesting or surprising to you, based on your prior knowledge?

And why?
 
Which Scientific Discovery (that you've experienced during your life) has been the most interesting or surprising to you, based on your prior knowledge?
Why don't you start us off :)
 

fresh_42

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Which Scientific Discovery (that you've experienced during your life) has been the most interesting or surprising to you, based on your prior knowledge?
That Fermat's proof really did not fit on the margin.
 

BillTre

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Why don't you start us off :)
Had to make it shorter.

When I was in High School, I was pretty amazed at Plate Tectonics explaining a lot of things I found interesting. But that was not really a thing I was current on. It was more of a gradual dawning.

So I would say it was probably when this paper showed that Hox clusters in vertebrates (deuterostomes) and insects (protostomes) shared so many of the same properties (important for establishing the Anterior-Posterior body axis in bilaterally symmetrical animals).

Hox clusters are large genetic regions, conserved for possibly more than 550 MY (depending on time of origin of the bilaterally symmetric metazoans). Hox gene expression and mutant phenotypes indicating they are involved in assigning cell fate along the A-P axis. This cellular process involves many different proteins from many different genes and instructs fruit fly cells how to develop based upon their position in the embryo; as a thoraic segment 1 leg cell, or a thoraic segment 2 leg cell for example. Genes at one end of a cluster affect the front of the embryo, genes at the other end affect back end of the animal. These clusters are very big and very complex and are very well conserved. This continuous selection, implies an essential function that can not be lost (like making the A-P axis).

To me, this indicates:
  • gastrulation (establishing the A-P axis & how mesoderm (muscle, bones, etc) forms) differences
  • between the protostomes (most invertebrates) and deuterostomes (vertebrates and echinoderms)
  • evolved in an already bilaterally symmetrical, two layered (endoderm and ectoderm) animal, after the front and back ends were (A-P (Anterior-Posterior) axis).
  • Perhaps a flatworm-like thing, like this. (Current flatworms are protostomes however, so would have to be different, unless deuterostomy is a state derived from the protostome situation.)
 
The detection of gravitational waves at LIGO. It was not surprising but a very exciting moment, becaude it came 100 years after Einstein's prediction, proving that he was really one smart dude.
 

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