Thursday, January 3, 2013

2012: An Amazing Look Back

Post from Stephen Tremp at Breakthrough Blogs

2012 brought us some of the most awesome breakthroughs and discoveries imaginable. Some could help humanity in the most amazing ways, while others are simply awe inspiring. Here are some of the highlights:

The Higgs Boson: a theoretical particle that is key to the scientific understanding of all matter, has been discovered (but still needs to be confirmed). In time, many physicists expect a new era in physics to open up, a gateway or a portal to a new era that could see humanity unlock some of the universe's great mysteries. Medicine and technology could benefit in awesome and amazing ways. It maybe possible to temporarily reduce the mass of an object. Amazing possibilities in space travel could open up. Check out my post from earlier this year: (CLICK HERE)

Junk DNA: Scientists had thought that a substantial portion of human DNA was junk and performs no function. But now they know that at least 80% of this junk has a function. In the next few years, this discovery will let us design new drugs and other ways of treating diseases.

Stay tuned as breakthroughs with DNA and genome sequencing will be coming at us fast and furious, for better or worse.

NASA’s Curiosity Rover: Landed on Mars in August and has a two-year mission (that has been extended) to investigate and asses Martian climate, geology, and past environmental conditions that may have been condusive for life while preparing for future human exploration.

SpaceX: Private firm Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, otherwise known as SpaceX, successfully transferred cargo to the International Space Station, proving that SpaceX was capable of bringing supplies and potentially U.S. astronauts to the ISS.

Hooray for privatizing space exploration! (Reference)

The Largest Black Hole Ever Seen: 250 million light years away in the constellation Perseus is a black hole that tips the scales at the mass equivalent of 17 billion Suns. It lies at the centre of the compact galaxy NGC 1277, whose diameter is only about one-quarter that of the Milky Way. The black hole is about 59% as massive as the galaxy’s central bulge of stars, a much higher percentage than expected. A supermassive black hole typically has about 0.1% the mass of its home galaxy’s stellar bulge. (Reference)

Who We Lost in 2012:

Neil Armstrong (1930 – 2012) American astronaut and first person to walk on the Moon. Armstrong served as an officer in the U.S. Navy and served in the Korean War. He was also an aerospace engineer, naval aviator, test pilot, and university professor.

Dr. Sally Ride (1951 – 2012) American physicist and the first female astronaut in space. She’s not the first woman in space. She was preceded by two Soviet women, Valentina Tereshkova in 1963 and Svetlana Savitskaya in 1982. Check out this post from last year on Dr. Sally Ride: CLICK HERE

Ray Bradbury (1920 – 2012) American writer of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and mystery fiction. His works have been translated into more than 40 languages while many have been adapted into television shows or films.

Stephen Tremp (no, we didn't lose him) is author of Breakthrough and Opening and blogs at Breakthrough Blogs. His third book Escalation is due for release Spring 2013!


L.G. Keltner said...

We definitely learned a lot and lost some good people in 2012. I hope we keep learning in 2013!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Steve ... lots going on relative to space - Brian Cox is about to do a three day Star Gaze next week in conjunction with the British public - just hope the weather holds fair for them.

Delighted to read that Escalation will be having a Spring birth .. I need to order Opening shortly ..

Have a very successful New Year and here's to another great challenge with some wonderful hosts - thank you! ..... cheers Hilary

Jo said...

Nice to have all these reminders, at my age I tend to forget what happened in the last year. Some exciting things to look forward to as well. Glad we didn't lose you as well LOL

Andrew Leon said...

See, what I want to know now is how a black hole that large (I can't even conceive 17 billion suns) hasn't sucked the whole universe in.

Anonymous said...

L.G., we lost some great ones. But their legacy lives on.

Hilary, I do like Brian Cox. I'll have to see what's the latest and greatest with him on YouTube.

Jo, my next posy here will be what to look forward to in 2013.

Andrew, our universe never ceases to amaze and rewrite our perceptions.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I was a little worried on that last one!
And no way my DNA is junk.

Jeff Hargett said...

Ha! My entire family is a living testament to junk DNA. We pass rogue strands from one generation to the next and watch the junk mutate. It's amazing entertainment. :-)

Chuck said...

Never heard of junk DNA but I am sure I have none! Nice succinct way to wrap up the year in science. Happy New Year, Stephen!

BTW...are there really asses on Mars??

Tracy MacDonald said...

I so wish I understood that space information better, but I do get the DNA thing. Whether it was millions of years in the making, or God in a moment, I don't think there is much that makes us up that is waste. We just haven't figured out how to use it yet.
A2Z Mommy and What’s In Between

Anonymous said...

Alex, thanks for your concern!

Jeff, I'm laughing hard!

Chuck, that should be assess hahaha! Thanks for the catch.

Tracy, we think alike and ponder the same questions.

Empty Nest Insider said...

Great review, and special tribute section. I also like the new look for A to Z. Sorry I haven't visited in awhile.

Philip Verghese 'Ariel' said...

Hi Alex,
Good to be here again after a bit gap. Thanks for this informative post and the connected links. Though they left us, we can rejoice that they left behind them a wonderful legacy. Let us hope, and say that May their tribe increase.
Happy and Blessed New Year

Tonja said...

I didn't know about the black hole.

Tina said...

Thanks for a great summary, Stephen! I do so enjoy your posts.
Tina @ Life is Good

Anonymous said...

Thanks everyone for stopping by! 2013 promises much in exciting breakthroughs in all fields of science. And we'll be highlighting them right here!