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The 7 Most Important Scientific Breakthroughs of 2017

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The pace of technological change is accelerating – and every new year seems to bring a more incredible list of scientific breakthroughs than the last.

This time 2017 is no exception, and the year was filled with game-changing innovations that are on the cutting edge of science. These breakthroughs will surely alter how we think of the world, and they will likely also translate into future unknown technologies that will affect how our society operates.

Scientific Breakthroughs in 2017

Today’s infographic comes to us from Futurism, and it highlights the big scientific advancements that happened over the course of the year.

The 7 Most Important Scientific Breakthroughs of 2017

Key discoveries happened in the fields of gene editing, space travel, quantum communications, astronomy, and quantum physics.

Let’s take a deeper dive into these incredible scientific breakthroughs.

The Subatomic Level

At the subatomic particle level, there were a couple of noteworthy advances that will help us better understand the complex inner-workings of quantum mechanics.

New particles: Using the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a team of scientists discovered five new particles – all from a single analysis. These particles may give us a better understanding of the correlation between quarks and multi-quark states, as well as some clues about the earliest moments of the universe.

Quantum communications: The first unhackable video call happened between China and Vienna in September. Rather than using traditional cryptography, it relied on quantum key distribution (QKD) to protect the call. Using single photons in quantum superposition states is a way to raise the level of security so high, that it’s not even hackable by quantum computers.

The Final Frontier

Important progress was also made in space travel and astronomy:

Reusable rockets: Elon Musk and his SpaceX team launched a previously used Falcon 7 rocket booster. For humans to be able to do anything significant off the planet, cutting down the cost of commercial space travel is a crucial step in the right direction.

New Earth-like planets: In a remote star system called TRAPPIST-1, scientists discovered seven Earth-like exoplanets in the “goldilocks zone” – where life (as we know it) can exist.

Life Sciences

Lastly, the other three major discoveries fall under the category of life sciences:

Embryo gene editing: Researchers successfully edited a one-cell human embryo in Portland, Oregon. This could make it easier to cure heritable diseases or defective genes in the future.

Gene editing in body: A 44-year-old patient suffering from a rare disease, Hunter syndrome, had his genome successfully edited using CRISPR.

Artificial womb: An artificial womb successfully imitated the environment inside a uterus, housing a 23-week old lamb. Premature births are a leading cause of death for newborns.

With the speed of science and technological change continuing to accelerate, it should not be surprising to see an even more exciting list of breakthroughs in 2018.

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Ranked: Largest Semiconductor Foundry Companies by Revenue

Most of the 10 largest semiconductor foundries in the world, are headquartered in just three Asian countries, accounting for 90% of the entire industry’s revenue.

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A cropped chart showing the largest semiconductor foundry companies by their percentage of global revenues in Q1 2023.

Ranked: Largest Semiconductor Foundry Companies by Revenue

They’re in our phones, cars, planes, and even fridges.

Semiconductor chips have become critical for the modern way of life, and the biggest semiconductor foundry companies rake in billions of dollars from widespread demand.

This chart shows the largest semiconductor foundry companies by their percentage of global revenues in Q1 2023, using data sourced from Trendforce.

โ„น๏ธ We highlight data for companies that only operate foundries (fabrication plants) that manufacture chips for clients, also known as a “pure-play” foundries, as well as companies that design and manufacture their own chips, known as integrated device manufacturers. “Fabless” manufacturers that only design and don’t manufacture their own chips are not included.

Semiconductor Foundry Companies by Revenue

At the top of the list and dwarfing every other company by revenue share is TSMC which earned 60% (or nearly $17 billion) of the entire industry’s revenue in Q1 2023.

Founded in 1987, TSMC is a pure-play foundry that has become Taiwan’s largest company and manufactures products for a host of clients including Apple, NVIDIA, and AMD.

RankCompanyCountryRevenue
(Q1 2023, USD)
1TSMC๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ผ Taiwan$16,735M
2Samsung๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ท South Korea$3,446M
3GlobalFoundries๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ US$1,841M
4UMC๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ผ Taiwan$1,784M
5SMIC๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ณ China$1,462M
6HuaHong Group๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ณ China$845M
7Tower Semiconductor๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Israel$356M
8PSMC๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ผ Taiwan$332M
9VIS๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ผ Taiwan$269M
10DB Hitek๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ท South Korea$234M
Other$556M
Global Total$27,860M

Note: Revenue based on the following conversion rates: USD 1 = WON 1,276; USD 1 = NTD 30.4.

Well behind TSMC in foundry revenues is integrated device manufacturer Samsung, the biggest company in South Korea, which made $3.4 billion (12.4% of the industry’s revenue) from its semiconductor manufacturing business.

GlobalFoundries from the U.S., UMC from Taiwan and SMIC from China round out the top five, with each taking home around 6% of industry’s revenue share in Q1 2023. The former spun out from AMD’s manufacturing arm when the company went fabless in 2009.

Industry concentration is apparent in semiconductors. For example, the top 10 semiconductor foundry companies account for 98% of the entire industry’s revenue. Furthermore, 90% of the market is dominated by companies in just three Asian countries: Taiwan, South Korea, and China.

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