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This Year in Science

January 3rd, 2010, 04:01 am admin Leave a comment Go to comments

Top scientists share some predictions for the decade to come, one of which included this:

Sir Richard Branson, the Virgin tycoon, is even more enthusiastic about activity in space in 2020. “Space tourism will have taken off,” he says, Nasa will have a “clear plan to get to Mars with a manned mission” and there will be a space station built on the moon.

I agree with some of that and I think I can make a good case for it. But for now we cast our eye back and look at a few of the greatest scientific announcements of 2009.

  • H1N1 could have been a disaster. But thanks to hard work by the CDC and NIH, private and public health facilities, and the efforts of physician bloggers like the Flu Wiki, vaccine was produced and distributed, perhaps limiting the epidemic and saving tens of thousands of lives. Ironically, the 2009 flu pandemic turning into a non story was an impressive achievement of medical science.
  • Ardipithecus, a strong candidate for the earliest ancestor of anatomically modern humans, was found years ago but finally described last year.
  • The case for Martian microbes received another boost in the year that has gone by and some additional evidence suggests microbes may still exist on Mars.
  • The Large Hadron Collider fired up it’s first test runs and began tweaking up its magnets and collision chambers. 2010 may mark the decade when the Higgs Bosonis detected or the time when the Standard Model receives a terminal diagnosis.

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