The Top 10 Science Stories of 2017 - Scientific American
The Top 10 Science Stories of 2017
Record hurricanes, data breaches, colliding neutron stars and drug epidemics—the most important science stories of the year
- By Andrea Gawrylewski on December 12, 2017
Credit: EtiAmmos Getty ImagesIf you were overwhelmed by the news in 2017, you aren’t alone. Every day seemed to bring monumental developments in all spheres of current events, from international relations and gender inequality to health care and domestic energy policy. Science was at the forefront often, so we’ve catalogued the two most important developments in each of five topic areas based on our editor’s top picks and our most popular articles. If getting the daily news feels like drinking from a fire hose, this list can help you stay focused on the science developments that matter.
SPACE AND PHYSICS
1. The first total solar eclipse to cross the U.S. from coast to coast in 99 years occurred on August 21. It gave people across the country an excuse to duck away from their normal occupations and observe the phenomenon, but it also afforded scientists a rare chance to study the sun’s chemistry, Einsteinian relativity and Earth’s place in the solar system.
Read more in this collection of articles: The Great Solar Eclipse of 2017
ADVERTISEMENT2. After 2016’s spectacular observation by the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) of two colliding black holes, the gravitational-wave astronomers reported this year they had detected the collision of two neutron stars.
Read more here: Gravitational Wave Astronomers Hit Mother Lode
SUSTAINABILITY AND CLIMATE
1. The 2017 hurricane season saw record-breaking hurricanes pummel the U.S. Gulf Coast, Florida, Puerto Rico and other islands in the Caribbean. Was climate change behind these extreme events?
Read more: Was the Extreme 2017 Hurricane Season Driven by Climate Change?
In June Pres. Donald Trump announced he would withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord. Our reporter breaks down the impact of that policy change on U.S. carbon emissions.
Read more: Trump Pulls Out of Paris: How Much Carbon Will His Policies Add to the Air?
1. In April the U.S. dropped a 22,000-pound bomb on Afghanistan in a strike against ISIS forces.
Read more: What Is the “Mother of All Bombs” That the U.S. Just Dropped on Afghanistan?
2. In light of recent major data breaches, many experts are eyeing how artificial intelligence will affect big data in the years to come.
Read more: Will Democracy Survive Big Data and Artificial Intelligence?