In 1989, Professor Michael Mendillo and associates discovered the largest permanently visible object in the Solar System – the great sodium nebula at Jupiter (50 million miles in diameter). Using the same instrumentation (designed and built at BU), they then discovered the enormous extent of the Moon’s weak atmosphere. If bright enough to be seen by the unaided eye, these giant gas clouds surrounding Jupiter and out Moon would appear as large as twelve full moons, edge-to-edge.
Discovery of neutrino oscillations in 1998 by a team that included Ed Kearns, Jim Stone and Larry Sulak of Boston University. This result means that neutrinos — which were long thought to be massless — actually have a non-zero mass. This discovery has profound implications for the ultimate theory of the elementary particles.
In a series of works, Leonid Levin and his co-authors established the equivalence of two of the most prominent problems in Computer Science which are also fundamental to many other areas. The first of these two (proven equivalent) problems is the existence of oneway functions. The second of these problems is the paradoxical possibility of deterministic generation of perfect randomness, indistinguishable, even in theory, from results of coin flips. The equivalence of the two problems is important because it implies that we can trust the magic of deterministic randomness and all of the practical applications it enables, unless all transformations can be undone as easily as done.
Framingham Heart Study. This landmark epidemiological study has been under the leadership of Boston University faculty since its establishment in 1948. Its founders, Thomas Dawber and William Kannel, have received many international honors for their work.
Recognition of high blood pressure as a “disease” and approach to treatment. The Boston University group led by Robert Wilkins and later Aram V. Chobanian introduced several medications for treatment of high blood pressure. Wilkins received the Lasker Award for his contribution.
Amyloid — Description of the unusual proteins and their roles in diseases ranging from malignancy to dementia. The development of curative treatment for primary amyloidosis, a once fatal disease, was pioneered by BU faculty members Alan Cohen and Martha Skinner.
Use of angiotensin converting enzyme medications in the treatment of high blood pressure and congestive heart failure. This work was pioneered by faculty member Haralambos Gavras.
Dissolution of gall stones by use of orally administered bile acids. This advance was led by Donald Small.
Advances in the theory of dynamical systems due to Paul Blanchard, Robert Devaney, G. Richard Hall, Tasso Kaper, Nancy Kopell, and others. These include the mathematical theory of chaos and fractals as well as applications of non-linear phenomena in dynamical systems to neural networks and other biological and engineering phenomena.
Stephen Grossberg and his colleagues introduced many of the fundamental concepts and equations that presently form the foundation of work currently done by thousands of scientists who mode how the brain gives rise to behavior.