50 Years Ago
50 years ago, researchers discovered a leak in Earth’s oceans
An analysis of oceanic rocks hinted that ocean water drains into Earth’s mantle. How much makes it back into the ocean remains unclear.
50 years ago, Earth’s chances of contacting E.T. looked slim
In 1973, a researcher calculated that it could take millions of years to contact aliens. But that hasn’t stopped scientists from trying.
50 years ago, scientists discovered the Great Pacific Garbage Patch
In 1973, plastic bottles adrift in the North Pacific alarmed scientists. Fifty years later, more than 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic litter the area.By Demian Perry
50 years ago, scientists debated when humans first set foot in North America
In 1973, archaeologists debated when people first arrived in the Americas. Mounting evidence suggests its much earlier than they thought.
50 years ago, scientists sequenced a gene for the first time
Within five decades, scientists went from sequencing a single gene to sequencing the entire human genome.
Humans haven’t set foot on the moon in 50 years. That may soon change
In 1972, the era of crewed missions to the moon came to an end. Fifty years later, a new one has begun.
50 years ago, physicists found the speed of light
In the 1970s, scientists set a new maximum speed limit for light. Fifty years later, they continue putting light through its paces.By Nikk Ogasa
Health & Medicine
50 years ago, a ‘cure’ for intoxication showed promise
In 1972, vitamin and chemical injections reduced the amount of time that rats fed alcohol spent drunk. The science has yet to pan out for people.
50 years ago, Stonehenge’s purpose mystified scientists. It still does
In 1972, scientists thought Stonehenge may have been a calendar. Today, we still don’t know its purpose, but we have gained insight on its origin.
50 years ago, scientists found a new way to clean up oil spills
In the 1970s, researchers added chemicals to the list of oil spill cleanup methods. Soon, they may add microbes.By Meghan Rosen
50 years ago, scientists dug into Pangaea’s past lives
In 1972, scientists wondered whether Pangaea was Earth’s only supercontinent. Fifty years later, we know it wasn’t the first and it won’t be the last.
50 years ago, physicists got a whiff of what glues together protons
In 1972, particle smashups hinted at the gluon, which we now know not only holds together the innards of the proton, but also makes up more than a third of its mass.