2010: A year of science in review
2010 has been an exciting year for many domains of science, from genetics to astronomy. Here are some of the biggest discoveries of the past year.
Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for their research into new 2D super-material Graphene. In March, The Large Hadron Collider proved to be worth the £6 billion spent on it when physicists smashed particles with greater energies than ever before. CERN successfully re-created a mini Big Bang using lead ions instead of their usual proton collisions. Physicists detected and controlled quantum states with diamond and light. Researchers at CERN succeeded in trapping antimatter in the form of antihydrogen.
The Rinderpest virus became the second ever viral disease to be eliminated by humans (after smallpox). The first clinical trial hoping to treat stoke patients started, with the injection of neural stem cells into a patient’s brain. The arrival of Humans was been backdated to 250,000 years earlier than previously thought, after stone tools were found on a dig in Norfolk.
The first synthetic bacteria “Synthia” was created in Craig Venter’s lab – the man who brought us the Human Genome Project. Ten years after the completion of the Human Genome Project, the 1000 Genomes project, establishing the most detailed catalogue of human genetic variation, has completed its pilot phase. The final sequencing of the Neanderthal genome revealed some interesting links between our species and theirs. In March, through the analysis of a finger bone, a previously unknown type of ancient human dubbed X-woman was unearthed.
The biggest known star in the universe – named R136a1 – was discovered by British astronomers in July. A potentially habitable planet was revealed n another solar system – Gliese – where it might be possible to find another source of water.
Amongst these and other great discoveries this past year, the first robot to show emotions was unveiled this year, with emotions ranging from delight and surprise to sadness and dislike. Let’s hope 2011 is just as exciting!