A Universe of Research

The naked mole rate, which lives its entire life underground, could play a key role in saving human cancer victims.]We are in the business of researching customer perceptions and voter opinions. But we live in a world full of intriguing, even breath-taking research that probes the far reaches of the universe and the building blocks of life on earth.

A quick glance at Stem Cell Research News produces these fascinating snippets:

  • Scientists have isolated human brain stem cells that make myelin, a crucial fatty material that coats neurons and allow them to signal effectively so we can comprehend what we see and hear and touch.
  • Researchers have developed a way to stimulate a rat's stem cells after a liver transplant to prevent rejection of the organ.
  • Scientists have cleanly correct a human gene mutation, which moves closer to the possibility of patient-specific therapies.

Not all medical research centers on stem cells. Scientists have found a worthy object of study in naked mole rats, which have shown an amazing capacity to exist underground with low levels of oxygen. They also have displayed an amazing resistance to cancer cells. Isolating how they do it could be important to treating human heart and lung patients, as well cancer victims.

Meanwhile, researchers in Europe have fired neutrinos in a supercollider than seemingly travelled faster than the speed of light, something Einstein's general theory of relativity concluded was impossible.

People scoffed at Einstein's 1916 theory until 30 years later physicists who relied on it and subsequent findings built a nuclear bomb that devastated Japan.

Einstein's theory contemplated black holes in space, but now researchers have identified an unknown force they call black energy, which could account for as much as 75 percent of the entire universe. Powerful radio telescopes, some with dish areas as large as 30 football fields, probe deeply into outer space. Astronomers no longer talk in terms of light years as they are able effectively to look back into time and gain clues on how the universe, including our own relatively tiny solar system, formed.

Findings about an expanding universe with stars and galaxies coming and going is a far cry from the earthly discord 500 years ago when Galileo proved Copernicus was right about the earth circling the sun, not the other way around.

Whether we jumped in or got pushed, those of us who live on earth are amid a true Age of Knowledge. Research, big and little, is the key to survival in an economy increasingly based on what you know.