Scientific American’s science top stories of 2006

This video is called Why Isn’t Pluto a Planet Any More?

According to Scientific American magazine, these are the science top stories of 2006:

December 28, 2006

Most Important Science Stories of 2006

Humans controlled computers with the power of thought, built an invisibility cloak, cracked the mystery of a 3,000 year old computer, discovered a new element, unearthed a missing link and kicked Pluto out of the planet club–and those are just the highlights.

By The Editors

Astronomers Relegate Pluto to Dwarf Status

After a week of contentious public and private debate, a small cluster of astronomers voted to demote Pluto from its planetary status. The world wept, and we wept with you.

Newfound Fossil Is Transitional between Fish and Landlubbers

Dubbed Tiktaalik roseae, this large, predatory fish bears a number of features found in the four-limbed creatures that eventually gave rise to all amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.

Plus, it gave our editor-in-chief another chance to take on creationism.

The Year of An Inconvenient Truth

The climate models were as dire as ever, despite some researchers’ ongoing attempts to deny that anthropogenic climate change is even happening.

Meanwhile, the effects of global warming continued to multiply, including more intense monsoon rains, the migration of America’s breadbasket to Canada and the contraction of the Earth’s atmosphere. (There was some good news, as well: levels of atmospheric methane, which is a powerful greenhouse gas, mysteriously stabilized.)

The Passing of Steve Irwin

An interview with the Crocodile Hunter revealed that he was more than just a showman, and possessed a deep commitment to animals, education and environmental conservation.

Grigory Perelman, Genius Who Solved Poincare Conjecture, Declines the Fields Medal

Why would anyone pass up the “Nobel Prize of mathematics” plus a $1 million bounty? Perhaps a detailed study of the man who did all of the above holds the answer.

Neanderthal Nuclear DNA Sequenced

How closely related to humans were Neanderthals? When did our ancestors diverge from theirs? What diseases might we have had in common? These questions and a thousand others could unravel as scientists retrieve more and more Neanderthal nuclear DNA from the distant past–read the full account of how researchers obtained this sequence data.

Cassini Captures Stunning Image of Saturn

Not to mention images of lakes of liquid methane and Earth-like dunes on Titan.

Firm Develops Revolutionary New Method for Generating Human Embryonic Stem Cells without Harming Embryos

Unfortunately, the firm appears to have made claims that its research doesn’t quite support–an event that said as much about hype surrounding new discoveries (and the way they’re disseminated) as it said about stem cell research.

“Lucy’s Baby”–An Extraordinary Addition to the Ancestry of Humans

Even though she predated the original Lucy by about 100,000 years, this fossilized three-year-old rocked the world of paleontology. Her discovery also gave our editors a chance to conduct an experiment in new journalism, which included soliciting reader feedback in advance of the appearance of a feature story on Lucy’s baby in the pages of Scientific American. Our online coverage included a Q&A with the enterprising fossil hunter who found this 3.3-million-year-old girl, as well as a multimedia presentation of the fossils themselves.

Dozens of New Species Discovered

Perhaps you heard about the astonishing 50 new species scientists unearthed in Borneo, but what about the new monkey genus–the first in 83 years, the 52 new species of fish, shrimp and coral that showed up in a survey of the seas of New Guinea, the new piranha discovered, along with 12 other new species of fish, in Venezuela, or the Kha-Nyou, a “living fossil” that is a member of a family thought to be extinct for the past 11 million years? …

Fewer Breast Cancers Linked to Less Hormone Therapy

In a late-breaking end-of-year development, it appears that eliminating hormone therapy has led to a 7 percent drop in the rate of breast cancer, after decades of increases. Researchers debated for years whether hormone therapy would have a measurable effect on rates of breast cancer–if this finding holds, we can consider that debate settled. ..

Unique Marvel of Ancient Greek Technology Gives Up New Secrets

Unmatched in complexity for 1,000 years, the device counted down the months until eclipses and might once have shown the positions of the planets.

Most popular New Scientist stories in 2006: here.

5 thoughts on “Scientific American’s science top stories of 2006


    1. “Missing link” walking-fish fossils awe scientists
    2. First cancer vaccine approved
    3. Claim of reversed human evolution sparks skepticism, interest
    4. Dolphins may “name” themselves
    5. One universe or many? A panel debates
    6. Study: red wine substance extends life, counteracts bad diet
    7. Skepticism greets claim of possible alien microbes
    8. Oldest known ritual: python worship, archaeologist says
    9. Drastic speedup in Arctic melting forecast
    10. Human, chimp lineages interbred after splitting, study suggests


  2. Pingback: Top 10 Archaeological Discoveries of 2006 | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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