27 December, 2017 – Episode 651 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)


The Top 11 Science Stories of 2017!!!

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This is the end…
Of all elaborate science stories…
The end…
Of done for me lately’s and animal corners…
The end…
We’ll never disclaimer in 2017…
My friends…
But before we go,
and come back again in 2018…
We will picture what has been…
A year so limitless in discovery…
That it cannot be captured in ten…
And while 12 might not seem to many…
We will limit ourselves to but eleven…
Top Science stories of 2017
Here on this week in science,
Coming up next…

Number 11 – Politics and Science
2017 was a year that the simmering relationship between science and politics seemed to come to a full boil.

Number 10 – Human evolution
Several studies from various lines of inquiry into human origins began to weave together into a cohesive tale.

Number 9 – Stem cells & aging
With new teeth, hair cells, and hypothalamic discoveries among others, stem cell science showed a lot of promise this year for the rejuvenation of the aged.

Number 8 – NASA planetary exploration
With the end of Cassini, the work of Juno and the Mars rovers, and the continuation of the Voyager spacecraft missions, NASA spent the year inspiring us to look outward and beyond the confines of our home planet.

Number 7 – DNA storage
This is the year that researchers figured out how to make the informational capacity of DNA less prone to errors over time, and showed the potential of the helical material to store the things we care about… like movies.

Number 6 – Synthetic biology
Scientists made huge advances in building synthetic organisms using artificial genetic letters, and showed the proof of concept for XNA in creating artisanal proteins designed by humans.

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Number 5 – Gene editing
CRISPR was hot this year, but wasn’t the only gene editing technology making significant progress in treating human disease. From CAR-T to treat cancer, to zinc finger nucleases being used in living humans, to genetic modification of embryos, 2017 was the year that gene editing really started to become an option for medical therapy.

Number 4 – The Microbiome!
This year we started to see the real impact our microbiome has on our health; from our guts to our brains and everywhere in between, bacteria and the world they inhabit is no longer something we can ignore.

Number 3 – Climatia
This category has gone up and down on our top 11 list for the past decade, but this year it ranks near the top not only because of the current impacts observed on the Earth, or the dire predictions being made for the future of the planet, but also the many solutions that are being proposed by people for mitigating the damage we have done.

Number 2 – Evolution of life
In 2017, several studies were published that pushed back the timing for the emergence of life on Earth, and that inspire deeper thought about life in the universe.

Number 1 – Gravitational waves
Yes, once again, gravitational waves are at the top of our list. The LIGO/VIRGO collaboration observed a neutron star merger that has the potential to answer many questions about the structure of galaxies, and lead us to further investigations into the formation of various aspects of the universe itself.

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I'm the host of this little science show.