Scientific Milestones

Science changes your life at an incredible speed. One hundred years ago, the Wright brothers built a wooden and fabric structure that managed to rise and traveled 36 meters through the air, and today space tourism is a reality. It’s estimated that the invention of vaccines has saved more than 1.5 billion lives and more recently the vaccines against COVID-19 managed to lower deaths by 91 percent. There are many such examples, but here is a small selection of the most relevant milestones in history that emerged in Latin America and the world.

Vitamin Development

1935

In 1935, Tadeusz Reichtein synthesized vitamin C for the first time, which represented a breakthrough in accelerating the processes of growth and tissue repair in the body.
Production of monoclonal antibodie

1984

George Köhler and César Milstein laid the foundations for the production of monoclonal antibodies in 1984. Since then, the treatment of diseases, such as cancer, viral and inflammatory infections, has improved.
COVID-19 Vaccine

2020

Dozens of researchers from around the world joined forces to stop the spread of COVID-19 pandemic which threatened the global population during the last year. As a result, scientists in Europe, the U.S., and China were able to develop a vaccine in record time.
Artificial Neonatal Bubble | Perú

2006

Lead by Professor Bruno Castillón, a team of Peruvian scientists optimized artificial neonatal bubbles in 2006, improving conditions for newborns.
The First Heart Bypass | Argentina

1967

The most common heart surgical procedure in the world, the coronary bypass, was performed for the first time in 1967 by the Argentine doctor, René Favaloro.
Hepatitis B Vaccine | Chile

1981

Thanks to the Hepatitis B vaccine developed in 1981 by Chilean Physician, Pablo Valenzuela, hundreds of thousands of deaths from this disease have been avoided.

Fetal Monitoring | Uruguay

1947

In 1947, Uruguayan doctors Hermógenes Álvarez and Roberto Caldeyro Barcia developed the fetal monitoring system, which prevents neurological damage to babies during birth due to lack of oxygen.
Human papillomavirus (VPH) | Colombia

2006

Thanks to the Colombian scientist, Nubia Muñoz, the Human Papilloma Virus was identified as the main cause of cervical cancer, which allowed for the development of the HPV test and the first vaccine against the virus.
Contraceptive Pill  | México

1951

In 1951, a Mexican chemist developed the world’s first contraceptive pill. Marking a milestone in the sexual revolution.
Production of Hemoderivatives | Costa Rica

2011

In 2011, a team of researchers from the University of Costa Rica developed the biotechnological technique currently used to treat burns, malnutrition, hepatitis and autoimmune diseases.

Hand of Hope | Ecuador

2016

In 2016, Ecuadorian electronics students developed a hand exoskeleton that helps patients who experienced strokes recover mobility.

Brain Machine Interfaces | Brasil

2008 – Presente

In 2008, Brazilian Miguel Nicolelis developed an exoskeleton capable of moving a paraplegic person through neural signals.

Lo cierto es que la ciencia jamás puede ofrecer una verdad universal o una representación objetiva e intocable del mundo, ya que su rol se basa en cuestionar las condiciones de validez y desencadenar reflexiones, lo que la posiciona como un actor social de primera importancia, más aún, si consideramos los convulsionados tiempos que estamos atravesando. Es en este escenario que la voluntad transformadora del emprendimiento cobra doble importancia: a través del trabajo de pensadores con un instinto cuestionador, impulsa la búsqueda de nuevas soluciones a necesidades cada vez más complejas, y, además, nos recuerda que las buenas ideas, por muy pequeñas que parezcan, tienen el potencial de cambiar la vida de millones. 

El cuestionamiento permanente que da forma a la investigación científica es el que nos ha llevado a desarrollar todos los materiales, herramientas y tecnologías que utilizamos hoy en día. Desde los bolígrafos hasta los cohetes, desde las aspirinas hasta los trasplantes de órganos. Todo, absolutamente todo, es producto de la búsqueda incansable que llevan en su ADN la ciencia y el emprendimiento.

América Latina ha sido parte de este camino y puede tener un rol protagónico en lo que viene. Contamos con  una masa crítica de ciudadanos, investigadores y visionarios dispuestos a compartir sus conocimientos e intelecto para desarrollar las soluciones a nuestras necesidades y, por qué no, las del mundo entero. El mundo se transforma a una velocidad vertiginosa, por lo que las decisiones de hoy moldearán la vida de mañana.

Cuando el conocimiento era solo un placer, nuestra visión del mundo era incompleta. Tal vez hoy aún lo sea pero al menos hoy sabemos que la diversidad, la interdisciplinariedad y la colaboración están en el núcleo del nuevo método con el que construimos respuestas. Tenemos que abrir la puerta para que todas las miradas, todas las actoras y los actores puedan participar en este trabajo colectivo. La ciencia es de todos y todas. Si tomamos la decisión correcta, será nuestra mejor compañera para estar a la altura de la gran responsabilidad que significa construir nuestro propio futuro.

Scientific Milestones

Science changes your life at an incredible speed. One hundred years ago, the Wright brothers built a wooden and fabric structure that managed to rise and traveled 36 meters through the air, and today space tourism is a reality. It’s estimated that the invention of vaccines has saved more than 1.5 billion lives and more recently the vaccines against COVID-19 managed to lower deaths by 91 percent. There are many such examples, but here is a small selection of the most relevant milestones in history that emerged in Latin America and the world.

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