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December 19, 2004

Science breakthroughs

[Via Slashdot] BBC lists Science magazine's breakthroughs of 2004 -

  • Winner: Water on Mars. Nasa's Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity discovered compelling evidence for the prolonged existence of salty, acidic water on the surface of the Red Planet.
  • Runner up: Indonesian "hobbit". A team of archaeologists made the mind-blowing discovery of a new species of human that stood only one metre tall and lived on the Indonesian island of Flores.
  • Human cloning. South Korean researchers made headlines across the world after announcing they had cloned human embryos, the first published and "peer reviewed" evidence this technique could work with human cells.
  • Understanding condensates. In 2004, scientists made giant leaps in understanding ultra-cold gases called condensates, shedding light on some key problems in physics.
  • Hidden DNA treasures. Stretches of "junk DNA" proved to be far more important than previously thought. They turned out to be essential for helping genes turn on at the right time and in the right place.
  • Pulsar pair. Astrophysicists discovered the first known pair of pulsars, spinning neutron stars that shoot out jets of radiation.
  • Declining plant and animal diversity. There was disturbing news this year about the decline of species diversity from large studies that surveyed amphibians, butterflies, plants and birds.
  • Water on tap. New results on the structure and chemical behaviour of water could reshape fields from chemistry to atmospheric science.
  • Medicines for the World's Poor. "Public-private partnerships" emerged as a force in 2004, according to Science magazine, affecting the way medicines are developed and delivered to emerging nations.
  • Genes in a Drop of Water. This year, researchers hit on a new way to identify lifeforms too small and too remote to see. They collected water from diverse environments and sequenced the genes floating in it.

My personal favorite is Mars mission and the medicines for the world's poor. Last one reminds me of a open source dual licensing model. Open source pharma !

(as always enjoy the Slashdot discussion at the bottom)

December 19, 2004 in Science | Permalink

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