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Bold’s Best of 2023: The Year’s Notable Human Achievements

hands shaking because of major accomplishments this year

This year has been one of tremendous change, but then again, this seems now to be the norm. Major advances are occurring more and more each year, and those related to key human accomplishments are no exception. As such, several human achievements in 2023 are worth noting now that the year is history. From key Nobel Prize winners to incredible strides in space exploration, there are many major accomplishments this year. While the following is not meant to be comprehensive, it does provide a snapshot of a few significant feats that were reported this year.

(2023 was the year the US economy was crowned king–read all about it in this Bold story.)

Some Major Nobel Prize Awards for 2023

a vaccine was a major accomplishments this year
One of the bigger major accomplishments this year came in the field of medicine.

As usual, various Nobel Prizes were awarded to key individuals who made significant contributions to their fields. While each of these awardees are worth recognizing, there are a few that stand out. Two such Nobel Prize winners were recognized in medicine for their work related to the COVID-19 vaccine. Specifically, Katalin Kariko and Drew Weissman received the honor for their collaborative work in mRNA vaccine. Their efforts date back to 1989 when they combined interests in RNA protein studies and vaccine development. Persevering where others gave up, these two scientists found a way to administer mRNA to human beings without it being destroyed. Ultimately, this paved the way for rapid development as well as administration of the COVID vaccine that saved millions of lives. Because of this, their work was recognized as one of the major human achievements in 2023. Though these weren’t exactly major accomplishments this year, the fruits of their labor were realized during the pandemic. As such, it is only right to include them among the most noteworthy human achievements in 2023.

(Dig into the Nobel Prize winners in medicine in this Bold story.)

In addition to the major accomplishments this year in medicine, a notable Nobel Prize recognition was also awarded in economics. Specifically, Claudia Goldin received this year’s award for her life’s work in gender inequality. Investigating the subject over the last two centuries in the U.S., she identified key findings that explain lower female wages. Lower education, child-rearing, and occupations played a major role until recent times. But then birth control, higher education, and delayed marriage helped improve gender income equality. Persistent inequalities, however, continue because of inflexible jobs in the marketplace as well as a persistent couple’s inequality in society. These revelations from her work resulted in Goldin being only the third female to win the award. The insights provided will serve to further guide public policies in a needed economics direction. Thus, her efforts are also considered one of the most significant human achievements in 2023.

Human Achievements in Space Exploration

Another key area for human achievements in 2023 involved space exploration activities. Perhaps, one of the most news-worthy stories in this regard involved India’s space program. One August, 23, India became the fourth country to successfully land a spacecraft on the moon. Plus, it did so on the south pole where there appears to be a potential for water harvesting. As one of the major accomplishments of the year, many were surprised. But rather quietly, India has become a major hub for space innovation in recent years. Not only does the nation have over 400 space tech startups. But they also are known for their spaceport and highly reliable and affordable rockets. In fact, India’s space tech startups have received over $120 million in VC funding. The ISRO, India’s space research organization, has paved the way for current and future space accomplishments. The landing of the spacecraft on the moon is among the most notable human achievements of 2023. But it is also likely to be the first of many others to come.

someone typing the words Nobel Prize
This year saw Nobel Prize winners and space explorers alike win big for humankind.

(India is winning the moon race! Read all about it in this Bold story.)

Of course, India isn’t the only nation making strides in space exploration this year. NASA along with many private industries have also made some major accomplishments this year related to space. Though it’s been half of a century since a U.S. astronaut landed on the moon, NASA is planning another to do so in 2025. This truly represents only a small step in NASA’s broader space exploration plans. By 2040, NASA expects to have lunar communities in place that are self-sufficient. Of course, this requires infrastructure and transportation to and from the moon as well as materials. These are the areas where significant human achievements in 2023 have occurred. Specifically, companies like ICON are advancing 3D printing using lunar dust as source materials. Universities are also utilizing lunar minerals to provide color to various material designs. These pursuits are important because it reduces the number of materials to be transported to the moon. If NASA is to realize its lunar vision, these are the major accomplishments this year that will be highly relevant.

Other Intriguing Advances for Humankind in 2023

astronauts were human achievements in 2023
India kicking butt in the space race was one of a few notable human achievements in 2023.

Space, economics, and medicine are heavy hitters when it comes to major accomplishments this year. But they certainly were the only categories involving human achievements in 2023. One of the most heart-warming human achievements involved the humanitarian efforts after the Maui wildfires. Over 40 different countries provided in excess of $27 million in relief funds for the island. Hundreds of thousands were received from local charities and financial institutions. And hotels and Airbnb residencies helped house displaced families. Despite the devastating natural disaster, these efforts demonstrated the incredible resilience of the Maui community and of humankind. As such, it too is recognized among the notable human achievements in 2023.

Lastly, some of the human achievements in 2023 can be characterized as truly unique. In this regard, Colossal Biosciences out of Dallas deserves some recognition. The company received an additional $150 million in VC funding this year, which is notable. But it did so for advances in genetic engineering and cloning, which has longstanding repercussions. Their goal as a company is to bring back extinct species like the wooly mammoth and even the dodo bird. In fact, it expects to recreate the wooly mammoth clone by 2028. Such a feat would be incredible and certainly reflect one of the major accomplishments this year. But more importantly, doing so successfully would undoubtedly have other implications for humankind. Without question, 2023 was a banner year for human achievements. And we can’t wait to see what 2024 brings!


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