NewsBreakthrough of the Year 2016

The cosmos aquiver

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Science  23 Dec 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6319, pp. 1516-1517
DOI: 10.1126/science.354.6319.1516

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Each year, Science selects a scientific discovery or advance as the Breakthrough of the Year. The choice for 2016 is the detection of gravitational waves—ripples in spacetime—caused by the collision of two black holes 1.3 billion years ago. Gravitational waves were first predicted by Albert Einstein 100 years ago; their detection by massive, exquisitely sensitive instruments in Louisiana and Washington states caps a 40-year quest to observe the infinitesimal signals. Scientists see the breakthrough as the birth of a new field: gravitational wave astronomy. Science also invited readers to vote online on candidates for the Breakthrough of the Year. Their choice: an advance that enabled researchers to keep human embryos developing in culture for almost 2 weeks.