Top Scientific Breakthroughs of 2010
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  1. #1

    Default Top Scientific Breakthroughs of 2010

    Top Scientific Breakthroughs of 2010




    Dinosaur Colors





    For the first time, scientists were able to use direct fossil evidence to make a reasonable interpretation of a dinosaur's color.
    Building on the discovery of preserved traces of pigment structures in cells in fossilized dinosaur feathers (above), paleontologists compared the dinosaur cells with the corresponding cells in living birds. By studying the colors created by different combinations of these melanosomes in bird feathers, the researchers recreated the coloring of a recently discovered feathered dinosaur, Anchiornis huxleyi (right).
    The dinosaur probably had bright orange feathers on its head and speckled on its throat, a grey body and white accents on its wings.
    The same technique was subsequently used to determine the color of a giant fossil penguin.
    Images: 1) Sam Ose /Wikimedia Commons 2) Michael DiGiorgio/Yale University



    Self-Replicating Life With Synthetic DNA Created


    Treating genetic code as software, bioengineers at the J. Craig Venter Institute created the first self-replicating, synthetically designed life in May.
    The organization's researchers created a genome entirely on computers, even adding special watermarks such as the DNA-ified names of 46 researchers who worked on the project and a web URL. They then printed the DNA in chunks, allowed the pieces to self-assemble in a yeast cell and witnessed an organism "boot up" after a few hours.
    Venter and his colleagues hope to patent Mycoplasma laboratorium, as they call it, and engineer it to manufacture cheap biofuels, medicines and other useful compounds.
    Patenting the organism isn't without its critics, however, who argue the move will stifle future science relying on an artificial microbes. The Obama administration has also called for oversight to the emerging field, but hasn't issued any federal regulations governing it — yet.
    Image: Schematic demonstrates the assembly of a synthetic genome in yeast. /Science/AAAS



    The Universe May Be Recycled



    A new analysis of leftover radiation from the Big Bang suggests the universe was recycled over and over again. Two theoretical physicists claimed in November that circular patterns in the otherwise uniform cosmic microwave background, which records the first light emitted after the beginning of the universe, mean the universe didn't go through one massive growth spurt in its first fraction of a second, as most cosmologists currently believe.
    Instead, the universe as we know it could be just the most recent iteration in a long cycle of births and deaths. The circles in the microwave background could be the gravitational echoes of supermassive black holes colliding in the epoch before the most recent Big Bang, meaning there has been more than one Big Bang.
    But the circles could also be noise. The controversial theory could be settled by a new microwave background mapper, the Planck satellite, which released its first map of the universe's earliest light in July.
    Image: V.G. Gurzadyan and R. Penrose /arXiv



    Australopithecus sediba



    Reported in April and known from two 1.9-million-year-old skeletons discovered in a South African cave, Australopithecus sediba offers a glimpse of a hazy time in our lineage's evolution.
    Some of its characteristics, such as long arms and a protruding nose, are recognizably human. Others, such as extra-long forearms and flexible feet, date from deeper in the primate past.
    It's too soon to know whether A. sediba is a direct human ancestor, or just looks like one. Either way, it's a fascinating creature.
    Image: Lee Berger /Science



    NDM-1 Superbug Decoded



    A Swedish citizen returned from New Delhi in 2008 with a nearly untreatable pneumonia caused by NDM-1, or New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase — the latest multidrug-resistant superbug.
    NDM-1 isn't a single microorganism, but rather an enzyme able to chew through most antibiotics. Only two classes of drugs seem capable of fighting the infections, if at all.
    In addition to tracing its origins to southern Asia this year, scientists discovered that the gene coding for NDM-1 can ride in a plasmid, or self-contained snippet of DNA, and easily spread from one infectious (and unrelated) microbe to the next. U.S. hospitals also documented their first NDM-1 strains in 2010.
    Although new infections and NDM-1-powered strains are spreading, at least one compound has been discovered that could combat the superbug strains.
    Image: Klebsiella pneumoniae, the first microbe identified to carry a gene NDM-1 gene. /Public Health Image Library



    Three-Parent Embryos



    By taking chromosomes from one zygote — the single cell formed when sperm and egg fuse — and putting them into a zygote stripped of chromosomes but still containing mitochondria, British researchers produced an embryo with genetic contributions from three parents.
    Other scientists had managed versions of the trick before, but not in human cells, with such sophistication.
    The technique hasn't been approved for use in human reproduction, but could conceivably be used to prevent hereditary, often-fatal mitochondrial disease. It also opens up a new ethical question: If mitochondrial DNA — just a small fraction of a cell's DNA, but integral to its function — comes from someone who isn't mom or dad, are they a parent, too?
    Image: A nucleus is transferred into a recipient zygote. /Nature



    A Habitable Exoplanet (Maybe)



    An extrasolar planet that could support liquid water finally showed itself in September. Exoplanet hunters announced a new world orbiting in its dim star's habitable zone, the not-too-hot, not-too-cold region where liquid water is stable and life could potentially find a foothold.
    The planet's existence was quickly called into question when a second team of astronomers failed to find it in their data. But the find bolstered astronomers' hopes that dozens of habitable worlds will show up as more and more exoplanets are discovered.
    Image: Artist's rendering, Lynette Cook



    Self-Recognition in Rhesus Macaques



    For decades, the failure of rhesus macaque monkeys to recognize themselves in a mirror kept their species on the far side of a cognitive divide, separate from humans, chimpanzees, dolphins and elephants.
    In September, University of Wisconsin neuroscientists reported mirror self-recognition in their macaques. The findings have yet to be replicated, but still had profound implications.
    Maybe humans had underestimated the intelligence of monkeys, as they had other animals who eventually passed the mirror test. More fundamentally, maybe the mirror test, a methodological remnant of a behaviorist legacy of animals as biological automata, reflects nothing more than a human inability to understand animals.
    Image: Flickr /Paul Asman and Jill Lenoble



    HIV Microbicide Discovered



    At long last, there’s an HIV drug that seems to work.
    In a study of 889 South African women, those who used a vaginal gel with the antiretroviral microbicide tenofovir in it were 39 percent less likely to contract HIV. Women who used it most often saw a 54 percent drop in risk of infection.
    It's no foolproof vaccine, but the researchers who conducted the 2.5-year trial contend it's the first-ever hope of thwarting the spread of HIV and AIDS. They're anxious to test the drug's safety and effectiveness more widely to see if it's safe to release to the public.
    Image: A rendered cross-section of an HIV virus. /LANL



    Water on the Moon



    Last year, NASA smacked a spent Centaur rocket into a shadowed lunar crater and blew out the first definite signs that the moon is chock-full of water.
    Although technically the LCROSS (Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite) mission sent back the first whiffs of water at the end of 2009, the final numbers weren't in until October. The crater that LCROSS carved out contained 341 pounds of water, and an estimated 5.6 percent of the soils there could be moist. That's enough water to be useful to future lunar colonists, scientists say.
    All that water was near the moon's south pole, but in March a radar instrument on India's Chandrayaan-I orbiter found millions of tons of water at the North Pole, too.
    Image: Science/AAAS




    Source: Top Scientific Breakthroughs of 2010 | Wired Science | Wired.com



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  3. #2

  4. #3

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    very nice images & informations
    thanks...........

  5. #4

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    Thanks, I didn't know most of them before
    It's not a lake, it's an ocean.

  6. #5

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    Amazing... I should start watching news..

  7. #6

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    Another big discovery of 2010 was the discovery of a Homo Sapiens tooth in Qesem cave, Israel, that is older than any other proof of human existence. It is considered to be 400.000 years old, twice as old as any historical evidence of human existence.



    This discovery at the end of 2010 puts scientist to rethink the whole evolution theory to the test again.
    __________________________________________________
    * More info at Yahoo News

  8. #7

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    Adding some more

    http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/96675/2011...cience-2010.htm

    1: Creation of first self-replicating synthetic life

    In May, researchers from the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI), a not-for-profit, genomic-focused basic research organization, reported the successful construction of a first self-replicating, synthetic bacterial cell. They copied and modified an entire genome of a small bacterial cell, inserted it into a living cell of another species, and by doing so created a new, synthetic organism.



    2: Scientists found life built with toxic chemical

    An astrobiology research has found the first known microorganism able to thrive and reproduce using the toxic chemical arsenic, which has changed the fundamental knowledge about what comprises all known life on Earth.

    This finding of an alternative biochemistry makeup will alter biology textbooks and expand the scope of the search for life beyond Earth. The research is published in this week's edition of Science Express.



    3: Antimatter made & trapped in lab for the first time

    esearchers at CERN's Geneva labs have recently managed to trap a sizeable amount of antihydrogenhave managed to trap a sizeable amount of antihydrogen.

    The development opens the path to new ways of making detailed measurements of antihydrogen. This will in turn allow scientists to compare matter and antimatter, which remains one of the biggest mysteries of science.



    4: Scientists Solve Mystery Of Mass In Variable Stars

    Astronomers have found the first double star in which a pulsating variable and another star pass in front of one another, solving a a decades-old mystery in the process.

    "By using the HARPS instrument on the 3.6-metre telescope at ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile, along with other telescopes, we have measured the mass of a Cepheid with an accuracy far greater than any earlier estimates," said Grzegorz Pietrzyski, of the Universidad de Concepción in Chile and the Warsaw University Observatory in Poland. "This new result allows us to immediately see which of the two competing theories predicting the masses of Cepheids is correct."



    5: Astronomers Discover 'Rosetta Stone' For T-dwarf Stars

    An international team of astronomers has discovered a unique star system comprised of a very cool, methane-rich dwarf star and a white dwarf star in orbit around each other, the the European Southern Observatory (ESO) said on November 22.

    The system, which is the first of its type to be found, is a "Rosetta Stone" for such dwarf stars and gives scientists a way of finding the mass and age of the methane dwarf, known as a T-dwarf star.



    6: Mysterious Giant bubbles discovered in Milky Way

    Scientists have discovered two massive gamma-ray emitting bubbles in the center of Milky Way galaxy.
    Astronomers say the bubbles, which may be millions of years old, span more than half of the visible sky, from the constellation Virgo to the constellation Grus.



    7: Possible Ice Volcanoes Spotted On Moon Of Saturn

    Scientists have found possible ice volcanoes on Saturn's moon Titan, similar to those on Earth that spew molten rock.



    8: Wobble May Keep Water Liquid On Moon Of Saturn

    The surface of Saturn's moon Enceladus averages a very cold -198 degrees Celsius, which is enough to keep nitrogen liquid. So there shouldn't be any liquid water.

    But that view changed when in 2005 the Cassini spacecraft got a picture of a plume of water rising from the surface. Recently scientists at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration have theorized that Enceladus rotates unevenly, giving rise to tidal forces that create heat, which keeps the water below the surface liquid.



    9: Planetary collisons in double star-systems leave no room for life to emerge

    "This is real-life science fiction," said Jeremy Drake of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, Mass said in news release from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Our data tells us that planets in these systems might not be so lucky -- collisions could be common. It's theoretically possible that habitable planets could exist around these types of stars, so if there happened to be any life there, it could be doomed."



    10: Super-volcano erupts in outer galaxy, similar to Icelandic volcano on Earth

    A galactic super-volcano is erupting in massive galaxy M87 and blasting gas outwards, and NASA scientists view that the huge volcano in M87 is very similar to the recent Icelandic volcano that caused heavy air traffic disruptions across Europe.

    According to NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, M87 is relatively close to the Earth at a distance of about 50 million light years and lies at the center of the Virgo cluster, which contains thousands of galaxies.


  9. #8

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    Thanks. I didn't know about most of them before.

  10. #9

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    can you please tell me where you got all these from? specifically the ones based around space? im an aspiring astronomer/astrophysicist actually learning russian at the moment to go to school over there and hopefully work in this field. it would be greatly appreciated if you could give me some links, im always looking for more science info ^^

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