It was an exciting and busy year for science and technology. Two Higgs Boson discoverers finally won the Nobel Prize, researchers found remarkable machine-like gears in jumping insects, soccer balls with electric generators started powering table lamps for people in developing nations, and Inside Science was there to bring you the stories.
This year for our annual roundup, I invited a few of our editors to share some of their favorite stories from the last 12 months, and to shed some light on the stories that they think will continue to make waves in 2014.
But first, here were our most popular stories of 2013:
Now, here are a few stories that got our editors talking this year:
Ben Stein, Director:
One trend I’ve been noticing is the increasing use of 3-D printers for innovative solutions to important problems. And it's not just Ph.D. researchers who are participating in creating these solutions. We’ve featured an undergraduate student who designed a low-cost, printable prosthetic hand, and a visual artist turned biomedical engineer who designed printable 3-D models of children’s hearts to help prepare surgeons for important operations. A 3-D street map for the blind can help people who are visually impaired more safely navigate busy intersections.
Chris Gorski, Senior Editor:
As always, I cover a variety of subjects in any given year. This year, that included the relationship between science and the culture of sports, how frogs once used in pregnancy tests might be largely responsible for the spread of a deadly amphibian disease, and how intelligence can be explained with a mathematical equation. That last story was the one that I worked hardest on and also a concept that people might be talking about in years to come. As the physicist who co-wrote the paper said to me, "We basically view this as a grand unified theory of intelligence. And I know that sounds perhaps impossibly ambitious, but it really does unify so many threads across a variety of fields, ranging from cosmology to computer science, animal behavior, and ties them all together in a beautiful thermodynamic picture." If the paper stands up to scrutiny and inspires further development, scientists from a great many fields could eventually look at this paper as a landmark piece of research.
Karin E. Heineman, Executive Producer, Inside Science TV:
I think the bedbug killer fungus will have a real impact on these pests. I know people who have had bedbugs in their homes and it’s a horrible experience both financially (my friend had to get all new bedroom furniture and mattresses, etc), and emotionally. Bedbugs have become a huge problem in the last several years, and they don’t seem to be going away. This research, using a fungus to kill the bugs, is a simple and pretty easy way to combat the pests and I think the research is very close to becoming available to the general public, and also affordable. Lots of consumer impact.
Finally, a sad note. We are deeply mourning the premature passing of broadcast industry veteran Jim Allen earlier this month. As our director from 2011-2012, Jim led us in creating the modern incarnation of Inside Science. He united our news and video programs and launched our Inside Science TV video program in January 2012. Here are some details of his remarkable life and career.
We hope you've enjoyed our coverage of science news in 2013 as much as we've enjoyed bringing it to you. To receive our content throughout the year, you can sign up for our email alerts and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+.
A very happy and healthy new year to you and yours from all of us at Inside Science. See you in 2014!