Year End Special: The Top Ten Science Stories Of 2011

Now, the top five of the choices.

Choice 5: End of the Space Shuttle Legacy and a falling satellite NASA in the news

The 40 year old grand space shuttle program came to an end this year. It left a huge hole in its wake, in the midst of a lot of retrospection giving rise to a fair bit of controversy. Maybe, the Space Shuttle Program was a failure, but should we be so dismissive? Emotions overflowed, as Endeavour touched down for the final time, Atlantis launched and came back and NASA mentored SpaceX to serve as a stop-gap replacement before NASA can find its next fleet of the shuttle vehicles.

Space Shuttle Atlantis Launches Off - a sight that'll surely be missed.

In the meantime, an old NASA satellite fell from the skies, raising enough heckles on the poor earth-dwelling humans underneath. The rest of the animal kingdom was, quite rightly, reassured and calm!

Cannot miss article: NASA’s ambitious Space Shuttle Program Was it Worth it?

Choice 4: Malaria prevention one step closer to a vaccine

What could soon become the very first malaria vaccine passed its first major human trial! This is the first in its journey towards becoming a proper drug that can be administered for the whole population. Malaria might have seen its final days.

There is a strong thread of philanthropy running through this story. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation supported the research. They will also be supporting the administration of the drug deep into malaria-infested tropical territories. Mr. Gates, you just made up for the Windows ME goof-up! My salutes to you.

Cannot miss article: World’s First Malaria Vaccine Passes Major Human Trial

Choice 3: Neutrinos travelled faster than light

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. This should’ve been higher up, right? Not quite! What we think is that this is a mere experimental glitch. When the experiment will be repeated in some other part of the world, this effect will simply go away. It provided a great source of excitement isn’t the prospect of Einstein being wrong just too mouth-watering?

OPERA: Here's where the whole fiasco started

So CERN announced the OPERA experiment results and Fermilab promised to check it. The jury is still out! OPERA repeated and came up with the same results as the initial results. We’ll just wait for the refutation and non-repeatability of the experiment somewhere else should be its doom.

Cannot miss article: Challenging Einstein What the neutrino results actually mean

Choice 2: Higgs not yet found!

This could’ve been No. 1, had it been a list of most frustrating searches of the year list. The particle just refused to be detected in all its glory. CERN claims that there is just too little data to say anything. After series of conferences, including one in TIFR, Mumbai, the Higgs is still missing and the search is still on! This will be one of the things that we will keep strict watch over in 2012.

Cannot miss article: The latest on the Higgs – It’s been Observed’, but not Detected’

And the No. 1 News Story goes to…

Choice 1: Cancer Vaccine made!

This has to be the No.1 story of the year! An Israeli company reported of having made the cancer drug, which can also be used as a vaccine.

Cancer Cells

Vaxil is the name under the limelight! Furthermore, this is a magic bullet, attacking only the cancer cells and nothing else. Even though not available in the market yet, it will soon be answer to dreaded cancer!

Cannot miss article: Israeli company develops Cancer cure

There it is! By no means was this an easy list to compile. Tell us whether you agreed with the order, or anything else about the list, really!

So long… and see you in the New Year.

Happy New Year to all readers and their near and dear ones! Remember to ring out the old and ring in the new.

Published by

Debjyoti Bardhan

Is a science geek, currently pursuing some sort of a degree (called a PhD) in Physics at TIFR, Mumbai. An enthusiastic but useless amateur photographer, his most favourite activity is simply lazing around. He is interested in all things interesting and scientific.

  • Temari

    Awesome news!!!!Thanks :)