The discovery of the Higgs boson has become a major scientific achievement of the year 2012, according to the journal Science.

The discovery of the Higgs boson, deciphering of the Denisovans genome, Curiosity landing on Mars, and artificial limbs controlled by the brain signals are on the list of major scientific breakthroughs of 2012, published in the journal Science.

Top 3 Most Significant Scientific Breakthroughs of 2012

1. The God particle

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.

In July, it was reported that two separate research teams working at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) discovered a new particle, which was exactly where the Higgs boson, known as the “God particle”, was expected to be.

2. Decoding the Denisovans genome

The second most important discovery, according to Science, is the deciphering of the Denisovans genome – a newfound species of extinct people living at 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.

3. Landing on Mars

Another important achievement was the landing of 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.

Top 5 Intriguing Scientific Discoveries of 2012

All the time, scientists and researchers discover new things on the planet Earth and beyond it. Here is a list of the most intriguing and unexpected discoveries made during the year 2012.

4. Sugar in Space

Astronomers found that simple sugar molecules floating in the space around a star about 400 light-years away suggest the likelihood of life on other planets. The term “sugar” is used to refer to organic molecules known as glycolaldehyde.

5. A new planet in our solar system

As announced in May 2012, another unexplored planet might be rotating in the fringes of our solar system.

“Being too far away to be detected by telescopes, the planet seems to make its presence disrupting the orbit of the so-called Kuiper Belt (small icy bodies, located beyond the orbit of Neptune, among of which are some dwarf planets)” says Rodney Gomes of the National Observatory of Brazil.

6. The “unknown” life in Antarctica

A camera equipped with an underwater robot discovered barnacles, crabs, anemones, and octopuses, most of which are colorless and live in total darkness at a depth of 2,400 meters in the Pacific Ocean.

7. A system of nine planets

According to a study in April, HD 10180, a star like the Sun in the southern constellation Hydrus, might have up to nine planets in orbit, located in the respective points of the eight official planets of our solar system.

8. The mysterious Mayan calendar and the Mayan “Temple of the Sun”

Archaeologists have discovered an unbelievable mural filled with numbers that were used by ancient people to calculate the year. The famous Mayan calendar is the most accurate one in human history, and, in contrast with the prophecy of the destruction of the world in December 2012, it seems to be continuing beyond this date… (You can read more about this finding here)

At the same time, the Mayan temple in the jungles of Guatemala, one of the most popular discoveries of 2012, reveals many details about the Mayan civilization, which, unlike the Aztecs and the Incas, was a loose congregation of city-states.

More Scientific Breakthroughs of 2012

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 the neutrino detection,
  • 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.

Anna LeMind, B.A.

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