The Falling Walls Science Breakthroughs of the Year highlights breakthrough thinking from around the world. There are over 900 nominations from 111 countries.
We are delighted to introduce our finalists and present their science breakthroughs of the year in the following categories: Life Sciences, Engineering & Technology, Physical Sciences, Social Sciences and Humanities, Science in the Arts, and Digital Education..
Meng How, TAN
Breaking the wall of viral mutations and genome shuffling
Infectious agents, including viruses like SARS-CoV-2, can wreak havoc on societies. Frequent testing is essential to minimise their transmission. However, viruses can mutate, edit, or shuffle their genetic material, causing diagnostic assays to fail. To overcome the problem, Meng How Tan has developed a robust and sensitive diagnostic test that can detect SARS-CoV-2 even when the viral sequence has evolved or has been edited.
Breaking the wall of pollen-based material innovations
Significant progress has been made in developing bioinspired sensors and actuators based on synthetic materials, although there remains a critical need to incorporate cost-effective and ecofriendly materials. Naturally abundant pollen grains were used as a material template to produce a paper-like actuator that can serve as the basis for self-propelled robots, flexible electronics, and multifunctional devices. These pollen-based material innovations can potentially replace plastics.
Breaking the wall of e-waste
PHYSICAL SCIENCES, A SUSTAINABLE WORLD, THE FUTURE OF LIVING
E-waste is a growing global problem owing to its toxicity and environmental impact. Pioneering “waste-for-waste” approach demonstrated to tackle both food waste and electronics waste towards circular economy of zero waste in which resources are used for long as possible. Unique, scalable environmental friendly way to recycle using waste orange peel to recover >90% of precious metals from LIB waste efficiently and to make functional batteries creating minimal waste in the process.
Sierin LIM, May LWIN
Breaking the wall of quantifying our molecular sense
SOCIAL SCIENCES & HUMANITY, THE EFFECTS OF COVID-19, ADVANCES IN HEALTH & MEDICINE
Quantification of subjective perceptions, such as smell and taste, and correlating it with medical conditions will add an additional dimension into diease diagnosis, particularly those that relates to respiratory symptoms. Leveraging on COVID-19 as an initial case study for the development of standardized test kits for smell and taste. Further implications are also expected in the diagnosis of early onset of neurological disorders such as brain tumor and Alzheimers disease.
Breaking the wall between video lecture content and instructors
DIGITAL EDUCATION, DIVERSITY & IDENTITY, OPEN ACCESS & COOPERATION IN SCIENCE, SCIENCE EDUCATION & CAREER INSIGHTS
Common lecture recording techniques include voiceover and picture-in-picture. These approaches separate the lecturer from the content. The live composite video lecture technique avoids that by layering slide content directly over the video in real-time. This allows the lecturer to monitor slide content and interact with it as if it were projected about them in real space. The technique is easy to learn and can be accomplished with minimal hardware requirements and little-to-no post-production. Plus, research shows students prefer it over other video lecture formats.