Forum für Wissenschaft, Industrie und Wirtschaft

Hauptsponsoren:     3M 
Datenbankrecherche:

 

Science’s breakthrough of the year: Illumination of the dark, expanding universe

19.12.2003


Science honors the top ten research advances of 2003



In 2003, new evidence cemented the bizarre idea that the universe is made mostly of mysterious "dark matter," being stretched apart by an unknown force called "dark energy." This set of discoveries claims top honors as the Breakthrough of the Year, named by Science and its publisher, AAAS, the nonprofit science society.

... mehr zu:
»AAAS »NASA »SARS »SDSS


These insights into our "dark" universe plus nine other research advances make up Science’s top ten scientific developments in 2003, chosen for their profound implications for society and the advancement of science. The Top Ten list appears in the journal’s 19 December issue.

This year, information from the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) satellite and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) telescopes confirmed some of cosmologists’ strangest proposals about the fate of the universe.

"The implications of these discoveries about the universe are truly stunning. Cosmologists have been trying for years to confirm the hypothesis of a dark universe. Science is glad to recognize their success in this effort as the Breakthrough of the Year for 2003," said Don Kennedy, Editor-in-Chief of Science.

Those proposals entered the spotlight five years earlier, when Science’s 1998 Breakthrough of the Year honored the discovery that the universe was expanding. Such an expansion would likely be driven by a "dark energy" that counters the effects of gravity. At the time, however, many cosmologists were wary of this strange idea.

Their doubts were dispelled in 2003. WMAP took the most detailed picture ever of the cosmic microwave background -- the light emitted by the universe during the first instant of its existence. By analyzing patterns in this light, researchers concluded that the universe is only 4 percent ordinary matter. Twenty-three percent is dark matter, which astrophysicists believe is made up of a currently unknown particle. The remainder, 73 percent, is dark energy.

WMAP also nailed down other basic properties of the universe, including its age (13.7 billion years old), expansion rate and density.

The SDSS, an effort to map out a million galaxies, also made major contribution to our understanding of the universe this year. By analyzing how galaxies are spread out through space, the researchers can see if the galaxies are being pulled apart by dark energy or pushed together by gravity.

In October, the SDSS team reported its analysis of the first quarter-million galaxies. Its conclusion was the same as WMAP’s: the universe is dominated by dark energy.

Science also salutes nine other scientific achievements of 2003. Except for the first runner up, the others are in no particular order.

Cracking Mental Illness: Researchers identified particular genes that reliably increase one’s risk of inherited disorders, such as schizophrenia, depression and bipolar disorder. Scientists are now working to understand how these genes can distort the brain’s information processing and prod someone into mental illness. Researchers hope to understand brain biases underlying mental illnesses well enough to design drugs to repair them.

Climate Change Impacts: Global warming was no longer an abstract concept in 2003. Scientists reported melting ice, droughts, decreased plant productivity, and altered plant and animal behavior.

RNA Advances: In 2003, Scientists explored how small RNAs, Science’s breakthrough of 2002, impact a cell’s behavior, from early development to gene expression. Harnessing the power of "small interfering RNAs" may help researchers combat diseases such as HIV and hepatitis by controlling specific protein production.

Zooming in on Single Molecules: New collaborations between biologists and physicists captured the activities of individual molecules inside cells. Research this year offered a look at molecular motors, colored nanocrystal tags attached to cell receptors and a single enzyme digesting DNA.

Starbursts and Gamma Rays: Scientists improved our understanding of the most energetic explosions in the universe: tremendous blasts of energy called gamma ray bursts. Astronomers confirmed the connection between gamma ray bursts and supernovas--explosions of massive stars--when they spotted the unmistakable fingerprint of a supernova in the glow of a bright gamma ray burst. NASA’s Swift satellite set for launch in mid-2004 should catch gamma ray bursts at five times the rate of any previous mission.

Spontaneous Sperm and Egg Cells: The surprising discovery that mouse embryonic stem cells can develop into both sperm and eggs may help scientists learn how these sex cells develop and why some kinds of infertility arise. The possibility that human embryonic stem cells might someday become a source for human eggs also raised serious ethical questions.

Left-Handed Materials: After two years of debate, several research teams confirmed that certain high-tech materials can bend light and other electromagnetic radiation in the "wrong" direction. Scientists used this new class of materials to produce an inverse Doppler Effect and are also working to craft better lenses.

The Self-Reliant Y Chromosome: In 2003, the genetic sequence of the human male Y chromosome revealed why this loner chromosome doesn’t need a partner. It has duplicate genes, arranged as mirror-image "palindromes." Thus, when mutations arise and a new gene copy is needed, a twin copy is on-hand.

Breakthrough Cancer Therapies?: In June of 2003, researchers announced that an antiangiogenesis drug, given with conventional chemotherapy drugs in a large clinical trial, prolonged the lives of patients with advanced colon cancer. Antiangiogenesis drugs starve tumors by preventing blood vessel growth. With around 60 different antiangiogenesis drugs currently in clinical trials against a wide variety of cancers, researchers and patients now appear poised to reap the benefits of angiogenesis research.

Special SARS Section: Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) clamored onto the world stage in March 2003 after first appearing in November 2002. SARS served as a reminder that new infectious diseases can emerge at any time--and that they don’t have to sicken a lot of people to choke national economies. Thanks to worldwide collaboration, scientists definitively nailed the agent, a member of the coronavirus family, only five weeks after the World Health Organization sounded a global alarm. In the end, low-tech public health measures, such as strict isolation of patients, eventually cornered the virus after more than 8,400 reported cases and more than 916 deaths.

Science’s Breakdown of the Year emerged on 1 February 2003, when the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated as it re-entered the atmosphere after a science mission. The tragedy left seven dead, the shuttle fleet grounded and NASA’s future in question. Much of 2004 could be dedicated to a reexamination of NASA’s civil space program.

Where Researchers Might Soar in 2004: As in previous years, Science highlighted areas to watch in 2004. This year, their choices include three planned Mars landings, microbiology and genomics for biodefense, more insights into the human genome, open access scientific journals, soils’ impact on climate change and sustainable agriculture, the debate over the costs and benefits of tighter security and anti-terror measures in the realm of science, and studies of the heavy "bottom" quark.


Founded in 1848, AAAS has worked to advance science for human well-being through its projects, programs, and publications, in the areas of science policy, science education and international scientific cooperation. AAAS and its journal, Science, report nearly 140,000 individual and institutional subscribers, plus 272 affiliated organizations in more than 130 countries, serving a total of 10 million individuals. Thus, AAAS is the world’s largest general federation of scientists. Science is an editorially independent, multidisciplinary, peer-reviewed weekly that ranks among the world’s most prestigious scientific journals. AAAS administers EurekAlert! (http://www.eurekalert.org), the online news service, featuring the latest discoveries in science and technology.

Christina Smith | idw
Weitere Informationen:
http://www.aaas.org/

Weitere Berichte zu: AAAS NASA SARS SDSS

Weitere Nachrichten aus der Kategorie Förderungen Preise:

nachricht Gewebe mit Hilfe von Stammzellen regenerieren
16.10.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht Dr. Philipp Schommers erhält Förderpreis für Klinische Infektionsforschung
16.10.2017 | Uniklinik Köln

Alle Nachrichten aus der Kategorie: Förderungen Preise >>>

Die aktuellsten Pressemeldungen zum Suchbegriff Innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Smarte Sensoren für effiziente Prozesse

Materialfehler im Endprodukt können in vielen Industriebereichen zu frühzeitigem Versagen führen und den sicheren Gebrauch der Erzeugnisse massiv beeinträchtigen. Eine Schlüsselrolle im Rahmen der Qualitätssicherung kommt daher intelligenten, zerstörungsfreien Sensorsystemen zu, die es erlauben, Bauteile schnell und kostengünstig zu prüfen, ohne das Material selbst zu beschädigen oder die Oberfläche zu verändern. Experten des Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken präsentieren vom 7. bis 10. November 2017 auf der Blechexpo in Stuttgart zwei Exponate, die eine schnelle, zuverlässige und automatisierte Materialcharakterisierung und Fehlerbestimmung ermöglichen (Halle 5, Stand 5306).

Bei Verwendung zeitaufwändiger zerstörender Prüfverfahren zieht die Qualitätsprüfung durch die Beschädigung oder Zerstörung der Produkte enorme Kosten nach...

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Kalte Moleküle auf Kollisionskurs

Mit einer neuen Kühlmethode gelingt Wissenschaftlern am MPQ die Beobachtung von Stößen in einem dichten Strahl aus kalten und langsamen dipolaren Molekülen.

Wie verlaufen chemische Reaktionen bei extrem tiefen Temperaturen? Um diese Frage zu beantworten, benötigt man molekulare Proben, die gleichzeitig kalt, dicht...

Im Focus: Astronomen entdecken ungewöhnliche spindelförmige Galaxien

Galaxien als majestätische, rotierende Sternscheiben? Nicht bei den spindelförmigen Galaxien, die von Athanasia Tsatsi (Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie) und ihren Kollegen untersucht wurden. Mit Hilfe der CALIFA-Umfrage fanden die Astronomen heraus, dass diese schlanken Galaxien, die sich um ihre Längsachse drehen, weitaus häufiger sind als bisher angenommen. Mit den neuen Daten konnten die Astronomen außerdem ein Modell dafür entwickeln, wie die spindelförmigen Galaxien aus einer speziellen Art von Verschmelzung zweier Spiralgalaxien entstehen. Die Ergebnisse wurden in der Zeitschrift Astronomy & Astrophysics veröffentlicht.

Wenn die meisten Menschen an Galaxien denken, dürften sie an majestätische Spiralgalaxien wie die unserer Heimatgalaxie denken, der Milchstraße: Milliarden von...

Alle Focus-News des Innovations-reports >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

IHR
JOB & KARRIERE
SERVICE
im innovations-report
in Kooperation mit academics
Veranstaltungen

DFG unterstützt Kongresse und Tagungen - Dezember 2017

17.10.2017 | Veranstaltungen

Intelligente Messmethoden für die Bauwerkssicherheit: Fachtagung „Messen im Bauwesen“ am 14.11.2017

17.10.2017 | Veranstaltungen

Meeresbiologe Mark E. Hay zu Gast bei den "Noblen Gesprächen" am Beutenberg Campus in Jena

16.10.2017 | Veranstaltungen

 
VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
Weitere VideoLinks >>>
Aktuelle Beiträge

Partnervermittlung mit Konsequenzen

17.10.2017 | Biowissenschaften Chemie

DFG unterstützt Kongresse und Tagungen - Dezember 2017

17.10.2017 | Veranstaltungsnachrichten

3D-Mapping von Räumen mittels Radar

17.10.2017 | Energie und Elektrotechnik