News Focus

The Year in News

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Science  23 Dec 2011:
Vol. 334, Issue 6063, pp. 1626-1627
DOI: 10.1126/science.334.6063.1626

The research results chosen as Breakthroughs of the Year aren't the only noteworthy scientific developments. Science sums up some other events that affected the global research community in 2011.

The Year in News, 2011

January

CREDIT: DAMIR SAGOLJ/REUTERS/LANDOV

CAMBODIA: The World Health Organization seeks $175 million to combat growing resistance to antimalaria drugs in Southeast Asia.

January

U.S. (Bethesda, MD): Proposed National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) at the National Institutes of Health spurs yearlong debate.

January

CREDIT: MOHAMED OMAR/EPA/LANDOV

EGYPT (Cairo): Revolutionaries oust Hosni Mubarak and vow to make science a cornerstone of a new, modern Arab state. But continued military rule clouds that vision.

February

CREDIT: MARTIN ST-AMANT/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

PERU: Yale University ends century-old conflict by agreeing to return Machu Picchu artifacts and help build museum.

February

CREDIT: COURTESY OF IBM

U.S. (Los Angeles): IBM's Watson computer vanquishes two human Jeopardy! champions.

March

CREDIT: TOKYO ELECTRIC POWER CO./KYODO VIA AP IMAGES

JAPAN (Tohoku-Oki): Massive earthquake and tsunami trigger meltdown of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

March

CHINA (Shenzhen): South University of Science and Technology of China opens, first school to bypass gao kao admissions test.

April

CREDIT: FOTOSEARCH

HAITI: U.N. panel confirms that peacekeepers were the source of largestever cholera outbreak.

April

CREDIT: MARC VALESELLA, IFC FILMS/AP PHOTO

FRANCE (Chauvet): Werner Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams, a 3D documentary of the prehistoric art gallery, opens.

April

CREDIT: NASA/JSC

U.S. (Florida): $2 billion Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer attached to the International Space Station.

May

CREDIT: FOTOSEARCH

U.S. (Washington, D.C.): First two members of new generation of hepatitis C drugs approved.

May

CREDIT: JAMES GATHANY/CDC

SWITZERLAND (Geneva): The World Health Assembly defers debate about destroying smallpox stocks until 2014.

May

CREDIT: © ANDREI TCHERNOV/ISTOCKPHOTO.COM

GERMANY: State authorities shut controversial clinic offering stem cell treatments.

May

CREDIT: FOTOSEARCH

SWITZERLAND: The World Health Organization announces that cell phones are “possibly carcinogenic.”

June

CREDIT: STEVE YEATER, AP FOR HHMI

U.S. (Washington, D.C.): Howard Hughes Medical Institute broadens its scope by adding 15 plant biologists to roster of elite investigators.

June

BELGIUM: Scientists fired for taking part in destruction of field trials of transgenic potatoes.

June

CREDIT: © RIKEN

JAPAN (Kobe): New RIKEN supercomputer dethrones Chinese machine as world's fastest, reaching 10 petaflops.

June

CREDIT: DANIEL SCHWEN/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

ITALY (Rome): United Nations declares that rinderpest, a cattle scourge, has been eradicated.

June

CREDIT: © FLOORTJE/ISTOCKPHOTO.COM

GERMANY: Organic sprouts declared culprit in massive outbreak of deadly new Escherichia coli strain.

July

U.S. (Washington, D.C.): Federal district court judge reverses his own injunction, clears obstacles to stem cell research.

July

CREDIT: © CHINAFOTOPRESS/ZUMAPRESS.COM/NEWSCOM

ASIA: Chinese crewed submersible Jiaolong reaches depth of 5000 meters in preparation for record dive.

July

CREDIT: NASA

U.S. (Florida): NASA's space shuttle fleet makes its 135th—and last—flight.

July

CREDIT: GLEAM/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

U.S. (Arizona): A $20 million gift revives iconic ecological lab Biosphere 2.

July

CREDIT: © RICK FRIEDMAN/CORBIS

U.S. (Boston): Cognitive psychologist Marc Hauser resigns from Harvard University after being found guilty of scientific misconduct.

August

TURKEY (Ankara): Government takeover of Turkish science academy triggers mass resignations and formation of new academy.

August

CREDIT: © GUNNAR PIPPEL/ISTOCKPHOTO.COM

U.S. (Washington, D.C.): NIH finds African-American applicants have less success than white applicants in obtaining grants.

September

U.S. (Washington, D.C.): Major change to U.S. patent laws replaces “first to invent” standard with “first to file” system used in most other nations.

September

CREDIT: TILBURG UNIVERSITY

NETHERLANDS: Dutch psychologist Diederik Stapel is fired from Tilburg University because of massive fabrication of data.

September

CREDIT: REIDAR HAHN/FERMILAB

U.S. (Illinois): Fermilab shuts down its Tevatron proton accelerator.

September

CREDIT: OPERA COLLABORATION

ITALY (Gran Sasso): Scientists claim to have detected faster-than-light neutrinos.

September

CREDIT: STEVE COLE/GETTYIMAGES

U.S. (Washington, D.C.): The Obama Administration delays tightening air pollution limits for ozone.

September

CREDIT: THEWIZ83/CREATIVE COMMONS

ITALY (L'Aquila): Seismologists go on trial for manslaughter in connection with 2009 earthquake.

October

CREDIT: ZACH VEILLEUX/ROCKEFELLER UNIVERSITY

SWEDEN: U.S. immunologist Ralph Steinman becomes first Nobelist to die between his selection and the award's announcement.

October

CREDIT: KEN USAMI/PHOTODISC RED

WORLD: Global population reaches an estimated 7 billion.

October

GERMANY (Berlin): Science Europe is created to give national funding agencies more clout with the European Commission.

October

U.S.: Biodefense effort questioned 10 years and $60 billion after anthrax mail attacks.

November

CREDIT: NASA/JPL-CALTECH

SPACE: A 400-meter-wide asteroid (2005 YU55) comes within 350,000 kilometers of Earth, closest encounter for object its size since 1976.

November

WORLD: Greenhouse gas emissions jump 6% in 2010, far more than IPCC projections.

November

CREDIT: ZHANG BO/IMAGINECHINA/AP PHOTO

CHINA: Shenzhou 8 capsule and Tiangong 1 module “kiss” as China becomes the third country to achieve a crewless docking of spacecraft.

November

CREDIT: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)

CHILE: Astronomers test the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array for better glimpse into the universe of cold things.

November

CREDIT: NASA/GEORGE ROBERTS

U.S. (Florida): Mars Science Laboratory heads to Mars for August 2012 landing of Curiosity rover. (In May, Spirit rover calls it quits after 7 years.)

November

RUSSIA (Baikonur): Russia's Phobos-Grunt mission to Mars's moon is stuck in Earth orbit after an apparent software failure. It's the nation's 17th failure in 21 attempts since 1960 to explore the Red Planet.

December

CREDIT: ITER

BELGIUM (Brussels): European Union finds additional $1.7 billion to sustain ITER fusion reactor project.

December

CREDIT: © 2011 TEVA WOMEN'S HEALTH, INC.

U.S. (Washington, D.C.): HHS Secretary overturns FDA's decision to expand accessibility of Plan B contraceptive pill.

December

CREDIT: © 2011 CERN

SWITZERLAND: They can't confirm it yet, but CERN researchers find strong evidence that the Higgs boson exists.

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