So, a LOT has happened since our brief hiatus. We’ll try to fill you in on some of the major news in science:
- Scientists isolate and measure antimatter for the first time! Published in Nature, summary in Nature News, and another good summary of the discovery here.
- The EM Drive– while controversial, NASA scientists show that the EM drive, an engine that does not require propellant, does indeed work (but there’s no explanation for how it works). Either way, could be an important step in the future of transportation and space exploration!
- Human Cell Atlas launched– a collaborative worldwide effort to create reference maps of all human cells in effort to understand human health and diagnose, monitor, and treat human disease.
- RIP John Glen– first astronaut to orbit the earth. Video obituary from The Guardian.
- 2016 Nobel Prizes!
- Nobel Prize in Physics: David J. Thouless, F. Duncan M. Haldane and J. Michael Kosterlitz “for theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter”
- Nobel Prize in Chemistry: Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Sir J. Fraser Stoddart and Bernard L. Feringa “for the design and synthesis of molecular machines”
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine: Yoshinori Ohsumi“for his discoveries of mechanisms for autophagy”
- 5th annual breakthrough prizes awarded.
- First proven vaccine against Ebola! Still in testing stages, but fast-tracked through the FDA. Summary in the Washington Post.
- And in some negative news, Donald Trump was elected president of the USA. While we cannot say for sure what will happen, we know his pick for budget director doesn’t think there’s a need for govt funded science, his pick to head the EPA is a climate change denialist, and his choice to lead health and human services does not believe in women’s reproductive rights.Slate provides a grim perspective for the outlook on science. There’s so much anti-science Trump-related news in the media, that we simply don’t have the physical space or mental capacity to display it all. This being said, CauseScience is even more dedicated than ever to promote science and advocate for science literacy.
While a wonderful few months for scientific discovery and progress, we are faced with bleak prospects for the future of science in this country. In times like this, I think this quote from Astronaut Edgar Mitchell about going to the moon is most appropriate:
“You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch.'”