2008: Science news of the year

Science News editors and writers survey the top news from the world of science in 2008. The selected stories are featured in this year-end issue, with links to the original, longer stories.


Dramatic disappointments in physics have dotted these pages. A faulty connection at the world’s largest particle accelerator shut it down just after it turned on. The Hubble Space Telescope went silent just before a final servicing mission was about to launch. And, for those who value nostalgia, Pluto still isn’t a planet. Glancing back, 2008 could be seen as a year of setbacks. Luckily, one step forward and two steps back is still progress — as long as the first step is bigger than the second two. (The LHC did turn on, after all.) Science rarely advances in leaps and bounds. Progress demands patience, but in the end success smooths out a rocky road. This year, the Phoenix Mars Lander tasted ice and recorded falling snow after initial delays, and astronomers imaged an exoplanet trifecta after years of attempts. What’s true for physics and astronomy holds for other fields. Researchers are moving ahead with efforts to make stem cells safe for medical therapies and are gradually piecing together the complex puzzle of longer life. It is in this spirit that the writers and editors at Science News offer a look back at this year. We focus on forward movement —incremental as it may be. Because small steps add up. Elizabeth Quill, News Editor

Atom & Cosmos


Science & Society

Genes & Cells


Matter & Energy


Body & Brain






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