Discovery of the Higgs boson, deciphering of the Denisovans genome, Curiosity landing on Mars and artificial limbs controlled by the brain signals are in the list of major scientific breakthroughs of 2012, published in the journal Science.
The first position of the rating is occupied by the discovery of the Higgs boson, which will help complete building the architecture of the standard physical model. In their search for ‘God particle’, scientists went on to build the Large Hadron Collider, which costs $ 5 billion. The project involved researchers from more than 100 countries.
The second most important discovery, according to Science, is the deciphering of the Denisovans genome – a new found species of extinct people living in the same time as the Neanderthals, which was discovered by Russian archaeologists in 2008. The first data on the Denisovans genome were obtained in 2010, but in 2012 the DNA was deciphered completely. As it turned out, the descendants of the Denisovans are the inhabitants of a number of islands in South-East Asia.
Another important achievement was the landing of the NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity on Mars. The received data have already helped a number of important discoveries and send plenty of widescreen images of the Red Planet.
Among other discoveries mentioned in the ranking is the creation of a mechanical hand controlled by the signals from the brain and able to perform complex movements. In addition, the list includes a new way of “editing” the human genome, which can cut and modify the DNA molecule. This method will provide new opportunities for gene modification.
Other scientific achievements considered important by the Science were the creation of the encyclopedia of DNA elements, the RENO experiment of neutrino detection and the discovery of a new quasiparticle – “communities” of electrons, which can be both particles and antiparticles. Scientists hope that the last discovery can be useful in building a quantum computer.