2019: The Year In Science

by GoNews Desk 6 months ago Views 2997
Top 10 Breakthrough Science Moments That Defined 2
This year marked considerable advances in science. From the first image of a black hole to the beginning of the moonshot renaissance, here’s a rundown to the breakthrough science moments that shaped 2019

The Top 10 science stories of 2019

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Portrait of a black hole

After more than a decade of work, the first direct image of a black hole stunned the world in April this year. Hundreds of scientists cobbled together a massive Event Horizon Telescope to capture a black hole’s event horizon, the region beyond which not even light can escape.

Measles resurgence

Many countries struggled with measles outbreaks this year, as the US reported illnesses more than in any year since 1992. Two outbreaks in New York accounted for over 75% of the cases, robbing the country of its measles elimination status since 2000.

Climate activism

While this year summer temperatures broke hundreds of all-time records, causing Greenland to melt at unprecedented rate and helping to fuel wildfires that raged across the Arctic, this year also saw record-breaking waves of climate activism.

Dangers of vaping

Until 2019, e-cigarettes have had enjoyed a reputation of being relatively harmless, but that changed when the vaping-related deaths and hospitalisations provided a stark corrective. To curb the epidemic of teen vapers, some states announced bans on some vape flavours.

Denisovan discoveries

This year’s discoveries brought an ancient group of hominids called Denisovans into focus as researchers found a fossilised jawbone in the Tibetian plateau, which on DNA analysis showed that it belonged to the Denisovans. As fossils accumulate, investigators will grasp how Denisovans were closely related to Neanderthals than to present-day humans.

Biodiversity under fire

This year, the risk of a record-breaking fire season renewed worries about one of the richest reservoirs of biodiversity on Earth.

CRISPR in clinical trials

This year, researchers in the US began testing the gene editor CRISPR/Cas9 in people, a crucial first step in determining whether the technology can fulfill its medical promise of treating or even curing hundreds to thousands of genetic diseases.

Quantum supremacy claim

Google in October announced to have achieved quantum supremacy with their new quantum computer. But the tech firm’s rival IBM researchers was quick to refute it saying that Google hadn’t done anything special. The clash highlights the intense commercial interest in quantum computing, as companies jostle for position at the forefront of the field.

Return to the moon

After decades with almost no traffic to the moon, this year saw most space agencies sending space spacecraft to probe land on Earth’s nearest neighbour. And this has ramped up the moonshot renaissance.

New depression drug

For the first time in decades, a fundamentally new drug became available for people with severe depression. However, the benefits and risks of the drug are not yet clear.

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