What will be the most interesting improvement in science?

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Borg

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What will be the most interesting improvement in technology?

I like to read up on new advances in science and often read about fantastic predictions in science. For example, in the world of television:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081002084217.htm"

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050329140351.htm"

Combining the paintable screen with this thread about a new XBox system (https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=318052"), I could easily picture having a room with all of the walls specially painted to create a two-dimensional(?) holodeck.

Question: What do you think will be some of the most interesting improvements in science?
 
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ZapperZ

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What you have in mind appears to be more in "improvements in TECHNOLOGY" rather than "science".

Zz.
 

Borg

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What you have in mind appears to be more in "improvements in TECHNOLOGY" rather than "science".

Zz.
I stand corrected. Technology it is.
 

Astronuc

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Development of processses and systems in measurement and testing technology
http://www.ilt.fraunhofer.de/eng/100428.html [Broken]

Laser profilometry, laser range finding, and laser-based inspection systems have all been developed to a high degree, and new developments are still underway.

Development of plants and systems in laser material processing
http://www.ilt.fraunhofer.de/eng/100429.html [Broken]

Development of laser and plasma sources
http://www.ilt.fraunhofer.de/eng/100431.html [Broken]

Laser-based inertial confinement fusion is perhaps around the corner.
https://lasers.llnl.gov/programs/nif/ [Broken]
 
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In Science, we need more techniques for solving strongly coupled nonlinear systems.

In technology, there really is no limit!
 
400 GB USB thumb drives
 

Ivan Seeking

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In the long term, life extension. Some experts think that the normal lifespan of humans might be extended to 400 years.

In general, the coming medical advances could be as dramatic as those we have seen in information technology.
 

Pyrrhus

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In the long term, life extension. Some experts think that the normal lifespan of humans might be extended to 400 years.

In general, the coming medical advances could be as dramatic as those we have seen in information technology.
This is true. Just look at the research being done at UMN.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/j9hEFUpTVPA&hl=en&fs=1&"></param><param [Broken] name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/j9hEFUpTVPA&hl=en&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>
 
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To answer the original title's question. I think the most interesting improvement in science will be, when we kick out the economists and impact factor accountants again.
 

Astronuc

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In the long term, life extension. Some experts think that the normal lifespan of humans might be extended to 400 years.
Not a good idea. The earth is crowded as it is. Besides, I doubt the brain could function more than the current limit.
 

Ivan Seeking

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Not a good idea. The earth is crowded as it is. Besides, I doubt the brain could function more than the current limit.
What special limit do you assign the brain?

Indeed, it is the stuff of science fiction horror stories. The most likely to get access to such technology would be the rich and powerful.
 
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In the long term, life extension. Some experts think that the normal lifespan of humans might be extended to 400 years.
So instead of retiring at 65, people will get to wait until they're over 300. That's a rather long time in the work force.
 

Ivan Seeking

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So instead of retiring at 65, people will get to wait until they're over 300. That's a rather long time in the work force.
380 Years of marriage, anyone? :biggrin: 350 is the new 40.

The implications of such a technology are truely profound on many levels. There are even some on the fringes of science claiming that immortality might be possible to the extent that the average person is likely to live about 1000 years before something like a Mack truck takes them out.

Ringworld's Puppeteers then come to mind.
 
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Astronuc

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What special limit do you assign the brain?
Degeneration of brain tissue comes with age. One could conceivably replace organs, but the brain is irreplacable.

What would be the purpose of living 300 or 400 years?
 

Ivan Seeking

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Degeneration of brain tissue comes with age. One could conceivably replace organs, but the brain is irreplacable.
Dengeneration is what they intend to, and to some degree have learned how to stop. The working hypothesis is that aging itself can be dramatically slowed. Also, it has been shown that brain tissue can regenerate.

What would be the purpose of living 300 or 400 years?
Does that really require an answer? Who wants to die?
 

Ivan Seeking

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Here are a few links that discuss the current work and debate related to aging.


How Does All This Affect Aging?:
Researchers can use the length of a cell's telomeres to determine the cell's age and how many more times is will replicate. This is important in anti-aging research. When a cell stops replicating, it enters into a period of decline known as "cell senescence," which is the cellular equivalent of aging. However, another reason telomeres are important is cancer.
http://longevity.about.com/od/researchandmedicine/p/telomeres.htm

If Telomeres Thrive, You Will Survive
Augmenting chromosome caps extends worm life span

Abstract: Much as cutting the biblical muscleman Samson's hair sapped his strength, trimming telomeres weakens a cell's power to survive. A new study of nematodes backs the idea that extending chromosome tips prolongs an animal's life span. The findings add a new twist by suggesting that lengthy telomeres stretch life not by affecting cell duplication, but by solidifying defenses against stress.
http://sageke.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/2004/18/nf47

...For successful aging you have to control both, aging in your dividing cells, which hinges on telomere maintenance, but also aging in your non-dividing cells. We thought that telomeres might play a role in the later but that's clearly not the case," says Dillin. "What is probably playing a role in the other half of aging is the insulin signaling pathway, proper mitochondrial function and dietary restriction," he reasons.

Several types of cells in our body, such as mature nerve cells in the brain, oocytes, skeletal and heart muscle cells don't actively divide but stay put just like the cells in adult worms.

"That makes our findings relevant for age-related decline in mental function and neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's," says Karlseder. "Making people live longer is not enough, we want them to grow old healthy," he adds.

"To prevent accelerated aging in an organism, you need to have both proper telomere maintenance and those other genetic pathways intact," says Dillin. "If you wanted to develop a drug to combat aging it wouldn't be enough to target telomeres, you would also have to target these other genetic pathways."
http://www.redorbit.com/news/health/201035/tiny_roundworms_telomeres_help_scientists_to_tease_apart_different_types/
 
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Not a good idea. The earth is crowded as it is. Besides, I doubt the brain could function more than the current limit.
We've been doing life extension for just about all of history now. A life expectancy of 80 years is nowhere near natural. You can't stop it, it'll keep progressing. People who are alive now are going to get the benefits of medical advances from the next 20 years which will allow them to live long enough for even further advancements, etc etc. It's true, we probably need to figure out a good way to help the brain from deteriorating (for a lack of a better term).
 

Ivan Seeking

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We've been doing life extension for just about all of history now. A life expectancy of 80 years is nowhere near natural. You can't stop it, it'll keep progressing. People who are alive now are going to get the benefits of medical advances from the next 20 years which will allow them to live long enough for even further advancements, etc etc. It's true, we probably need to figure out a good way to help the brain from deteriorating (for a lack of a better term).

Yes, I have read about this as well - the idea that with the first advances in anti-aging technology, those who benefit will live long enough to see more dramatic advances that allow them to live even longer, which are followed by more advances that allow them to live longer... A trip to the doctor's office might one day be the biological equivalent of getting a Windows upgrade. :biggrin:
 

Ygggdrasil

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In Science, we need more techniques for solving strongly coupled nonlinear systems.
I agree. Advances in this area would greatly help my field of study (quantitative biology) as well as many others.
 

Borg

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In the long term, life extension. Some experts think that the normal lifespan of humans might be extended to 400 years.

In general, the coming medical advances could be as dramatic as those we have seen in information technology.
This is true. Just look at the research being done at UMN.
Thanks for all of the great comments.

The advancements in growing organs is one that I have been eagerly watching the last few years. The scaffolding problem seems to be the only remaining major roadblock. I've told many people that if I can make it to 80 or 90, technology will allow me to live to 150. The advancements in growing new organs is what gives me that expectation. However, I may need to rethink my expectations if the normal lifespan goes to 400.

I'm not too worried about the brain problem. I expect that will be replaced by computer chips eventually (I'm half kidding on this since I haven't seen anything that even remotely suggests that it would be feasable). However, once the brain is transferred over, you could theoretically travel to other stars - just turn off your brain and rebuild a new body when you get there. Now if I can just make it to 300 so that the technology catches up. :wink:
 
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1.I have none idea about making me younger instead living longer
2.if it is feasable, it will be relative first for a journey of lifespan
3.200, 300 400.... are just falacy. what is the point to live longer to you ?
 

Borg

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In Science, we need more techniques for solving strongly coupled nonlinear systems.

In technology, there really is no limit!
I agree. Advances in this area would greatly help my field of study (quantitative biology) as well as many others.
Forgive my ignorance but a google search didn't turn up a good definition of "strongly coupled nonlinear systems". I think that I understand what it is but, could someone give a brief definiton and/or an example of what knowledge or technology might be gained?
 

Ygggdrasil

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Forgive my ignorance but a google search didn't turn up a good definition of "strongly coupled nonlinear systems". I think that I understand what it is but, could someone give a brief definiton and/or an example of what knowledge or technology might be gained?
I'll give one example of a problem where nonlinear systems are involved, and maybe that will answer your question.

One really big question in chemistry/biology is this: how do collections of molecules create life? For example, we consider cells to be alive, but the components of cells--proteins, membranes, small molecules, and other chemical components--are not considered to be alive. Is it possible to understand how these collection of molecules become alive?

One approach to studying this problem is to attempt to model cells as chemical systems and see how all of the chemical reactions in a cell combine to create something alive. Chemical reactions can be represented by differential equations, where the change in concentration of one chemical component is influenced by the concentrations of other chemical components. This approach leads to a system of nonlinear differential equations, which in general, are difficult to solve. Further complicating the situation is the fact that many of the chemical processes in cells are involved in feedback loops. For example, the end product of a metabolic pathway might slow the rate of the reactions that produce that end product. This produces a set of strongly coupled nonlinear differential equations, since many of the terms appear in many of the equations (as opposed to only a few of the differential equations).

Now, writing down such a set of differential equations is a fairly useless exercise because we don't have good ways of solving, analyzing, modeling, or even thinking about such complicated systems. Insights into how to approach very complicated dynamical systems that operate far from equilibrium could really help establish a theoretical branch of biology to help interpret and guide the very productive experimental branch of biology much in the same way that various theoretical approaches in physics and chemistry (e.g. quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics) helped to guide those fields to make new fundamental discoveries and produce new technologies. For example, if we could create computational models of a cell, it would be much easier to test drug candidates to see how effective they might be at treating specific diseases and whether they might produce certain side effects.
 

Borg

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Thanks! I was on the right track but, It's a lot more involved than I expected.
 

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