To say that 2020 was challenging is an understatement. A world laid low by a pandemic. Racial inequities laid bare through social protests. Regions laid waste in the wake of extreme natural disasters. Yet science often rose to tackle these challenges.
We started the year knowing next to nothing about the novel coronavirus. Huge questions remain, but thanks in part to extraordinary efforts to develop vaccines that appear effective, we enter 2021 with glimmers of hope.
Hope is also emerging from a gut-wrenching reckoning with racial inequities, sparked by police killings of unarmed Black men and women in the United States. Through #BlackInSTEM and similar social movements, scientists are using their voices to shine light on a lack of diversity in their fields and to drive change.
It is harder to find any positive angles to 2020’s record-breaking fires, hurricanes and extreme Arctic heat. Yet science played a role here, too, helping us see the connections between our actions and our changing world.
In this year-end issue, we at Science News also felt the need to spark some joy and spotlight the thrill of discovery, whether it’s finding the edge of the Milky Way or the fossil of the oldest known modern bird, delightfully dubbed “Wonderchicken”. — Macon Morehouse, News Director
After making fast progress understanding the new coronavirus, researchers are still in search of answers.
Look back on how the virus overwhelmed 2020 and how efforts to fight back evolved.
Researchers, a health care worker, a clinical trial volunteer and others share their experiences during the pandemic.
Researchers offer a range of perspectives on the possible long-term social consequences of COVID-19.
Here are a few of the people out to improve the professional lives of Black researchers.
The gap for U.S. Black students and professionals in STEM fields is stubbornly wide.
Climate change did not take a break during the pandemic.
During a gloomy year dominated by a pandemic, these scientific discoveries were reminders that we live in a world of wonder.
In a year when the coronavirus pandemic dominated the news, these books were a welcomed distraction.
Scientific findings reported this year that still need more proof include potential signs of life on Venus and Earth’s oldest parasites.
Murder hornets sightings in the Pacific northwest inspired a mix of concern and delight.