As another year comes around, and our solstice plans come to a head I want to review this year's great progress in science to follow on from last year's great review.
The general criteria is: World changing science, not politics. That means a lot of space discoveries, a lot of technology, some groundbreaking biology, and sometimes new chemical materials. There really are too many to list briefly.
With that in mind, below is the list:
Things that spring to mind when you ask people:
Note: the whole thing is worth reading - I cherry picked a few really cool ones.
100 years ago (1916):
Nobel Prizes in 1916:
Meta: this took in the order of 3+ hours to write over several weeks.
Cross posted to Lesswrong here.
Something important IMHO is missing from the list : no new physics were discovered in LHC, even running at 14TeV, no Susy, no new particle, nothing but a confirmation of all predictions of Standard Model.
It's relatively easy to miss because it's a "negative" discovery (nothing new), but since many were expecting some hints towards new physics from the 2016 LHC runs, the confirmation of the Standard Model (and the death sentence it is to many theories, like many forms of SUSY) is news.
Personally, I'm excited about the formation of Solid Metallic Hydrogen in the lab. (Although, it only has 52% odds of being a big deal, as measured by citation count.) SMH may be stable at room temperature, and the SMH to gas phase transition could release more energy than chemical reactions do, making it more energy dense than rocket fuel. Additionally, there's like a ~35% chance of it superconducting at room temperature.
(As a side note, does anyone know whether something like this might make fusion pressures easier to achieve? I realize starting off a little more dense than other forms of solid hydrogen won't help much, but could the compression force and heating from the energy released supply the energy needed, similar to General Fusion's approach but starting with a solid instead of a plasma? Or, if it superconducts and has a high critical current density, could that enable stronger magnetic fields and stronger z pinch, or is that not the limiting factor?)
I'm not a physicist, but if I wanted to fuse metallic hydrogen I'd think about a really direct approach: shooting two deuterium/tritium bullets at each other at 1.5% of c (for a Coulomb barrier of 0.1 MeV according to Wikipedia). The most questionable part I can see is that a nucleus from one bullet could be expected to miss thousands of nuclei from the other, before it hit one, and I would worry about losing too much energy to bremsstrahlung in those encounters.
Great list! Although I would like there to be also a few ones for narrower fields. I mean, there are entire fields of science that different people here are familiar with, we could rec our own favourites (or you could, 'cause I seem to be buried by XIX century stuff.)
I mean something similar to a fact post, but without a single focus.
Wow, cool. Will review these in more detail later but there's some stuff here I didn't know about, thanks for collating it!