Scientific American published an article back in December titled “World Changing Ideas” that caught my eye. The article provides a laundry list of ideas that Scientific American says have the potential to improve our lives and our planet. The magazine has been running similar articles on an annual basis for a number of years.
The December article covers ideas in five general categories (Energy,Transportation, Environment, Electronics, and Health) that highlight the power of science and technology to improve the world.
Here’s a summary of some of the 20 ideas from this article
- Pay for solar panels on your house like you pay for a house mortgage.
- Biofuels from genetically engineered plants.
- Innovations in Nuclear Power production that can stem nuclear proliferation
- Smart meters in the home
- Wind Power harvested from a fleet of high-flying giant kites or windmills
- Plug-in hybrid trucks for short-haul cargo trips
- Subway-like bus lines
- Someday the oceans might be regulated by a worldwide marine planning and zoning committee
- Harvesting energy trapped in garbage via a technology called plasma gasification
- Cement that naturally absorbs carbon dioxide as it hardens
- Introducing new honeybee colonies to our farms
- Developing crops that can handle saltwater
- HP’s Central Nervous System for the Earth (CeNSE) project
- Smartphones that can act as real-time language translators
- Advances in Personal Robotics
- Biomarkers can help understand the causes of complex diseases
- Satellites can help track and predict the spread of diseases
- Better and cheaper ways to help blood clot quicker
- Performing blood tests in real time by putting a drop of blood on a computer chip
- Innovations in dental care.
The 20 ideas above are all interesting and innovative trends in science and technology. Some I would say are more ‘world changing’ than other ideas. And I am sure we could all come up with another 20 trends / ideas in science that are not listed above.
There’s much more detail in the article. Scientific American articles are available to subscribers only, but at the time of the writing of this post, I found the article at Scribd here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/23475128/20-World-Changing-Ideas. Also…you can listen to a podcast where Scientific American magazine Editor in Chief Mariette DiChristina and editor Michael Moyer talk about the "World Changing Ideas" feature ( Download this podcast ).