2017: a year in science

In Classical tradition for the Sydney Summer Solstice.  We look back over the year and gathering some exciting science that was worth sharing.  I present this year’s list of science (see previous years – 20162015)

Credit this year goes to Erratio for compiling the list.  And I hope that together with us you can celebrate some of humanity’s success over a wonderful year in science!

– first human head transplant (on a corpse). (https://nypost.com/2017/11/17/professor-claims-doctors-successfully-performed-human-head-transplant/)

– gay marriage in Australia (finally!)

– human-pig hybrid embryos created (https://www.sciencealert.com/it-s-alive-the-first-human-pig-hybrid-has-been-created-in-the-lab)

– major breakthrough in understanding the common cold (https://www.standard.co.uk/news/health/scientists-make-major-breakthrough-that-could-pave-the-way-for-cure-to-common-cold-a3474106.html)

– reversed aging in mice (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-04/scientists-reverse-ageing-process-in-mice/5865714)

– premature lambs grown in artificial womb (http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/artificial-womb-used-to-successfully-grow-premature-lamb-for-the-second-time/)

– CRISPR has been used on human embryos (http://www.bbc.com/news/health-40802147)

– SpaceX has successfully launched and landed a reused Falcoln 9 rocket (https://www.theverge.com/2017/3/30/15117096/spacex-launch-reusable-rocket-success-falcon-9-landing)

– Elon Musk building words largest lithium ion battery as backup for South Australia http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-07/sa-to-get-worlds-biggest-lithium-ion-battery/8687268

– Tesla has built electric self driving trucks (https://www.theverge.com/2017/11/16/16667366/tesla-semi-truck-announced-price-release-date-electric-self-driving)

– AlphaGo beat everyone at Go (https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/19/google-alphago-zero-ai/)

–  Alpha Zero taught itself chess in 24 hours, beats all the other AI’s (https://www.technologyreview.com/s/609736/alpha-zeros-alien-chess-shows-the-power-and-the-peculiarity-of-ai/)

– Metallic hydrogen created (https://phys.org/news/2017-01-metallic-hydrogen-theory-reality.html)

–  51-qubit quantum simulator (https://www.newscientist.com/article/2141105-quantum-simulator-with-51-qubits-is-largest-ever/)

– Researchers demonstrate a prototype 3D printer that can print fully functional human skin (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/01/170123090630.htm)

– DeepStack is beating everyone at poker (https://arxiv.org/abs/1701.01724)

– Negative mass fluid (https://www.sciencealert.com/physicists-say-they-ve-created-a-fluid-with-negative-mass)

– The first synthetic retina using soft biological tissues is created by a student at the University of Oxford

– Australia is getting a space agency (http://www.minister.industry.gov.au/ministers/sinodinos/media-releases/turnbull-government-establish-national-space-agency)

– A roundworm has been uploaded to a Lego body (http://edition.cnn.com/2015/01/21/tech/mci-lego-worm/index.html)

– The Minamata Convention, the first global treaty on mercury pollution, has been ratified (https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/minamata-convention_nations-meet-in-geneva-to-make-mercury-history-/43543598)

  • Oumuamua,  the first known interstellar object to pass through the Solar System. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%CA%BBOumuamua)
  • NASA announces its two choices for the next Discovery Program missions – the Lucy mission, to visit several asteroids, including six Jupiter Trojans; and the Psyche mission, to visit the large metallic asteroid 16 Psyche.[6][7]
  • Researchers publish evidence that humans first entered North America in around 24,000 BP (Before Present), during the height of the last ice age. This is 10,000 years earlier than previously thought.[23]


The first stable helium compound is synthesized, Na2He.[44][45] Helium is the most unreactive element.

Scientists at the University of Texas report a new phase of matter, dubbed a time crystal, in which atoms move in a pattern that repeats in time rather than in space

Physicists at CERN‘s Large Hadron Collider report the detection of the particle Ξ++ cc (with the Greek letter Xi), a new hadron, a composite particle containing two charm quarks and one up quark.

Nobel Prizes


Physics: Rainer Weiss, Barry C. Barish and Kip S. Thorne

“for decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves”

Chemistry: Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson

“for developing cryo-electron microscopy for the high-resolution structure determination of biomolecules in solution”

Physiology or medicine: Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young

“for their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm”

Literature: Kazuo Ishiguro

“who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world”

Peace: International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)

“for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons”

Economics: Richard H. Thaler

“for his contributions to behavioural economics”

Bonus section

– The eclipse (https://www.demilked.com/magazine/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/599c19131cb57-solar-eclipse-2017-coverimage.jpg)

– Harvey Weinstein et al

– Trump, North Korea, Brexit

– Robert Mugabe has resigned

Notable Deaths:

Hans Rosling

Isabella Karle

100 years ago in 1917

Holy crap this was a depressing year. WWI pretty much all the way.


January 25Ilya Prigogine, Russian-born physicist and chemist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry (d. 2003)

February 14Herbert A. Hauptman, American mathematician, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry (d. 2011)

John Kendrew, British molecular biologist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry (d. 1997)

April 10Robert Burns Woodward, American chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1979)

June 1William S. Knowles, American chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2012)

John Fenn, American chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2010)

Christian de Duve, English-born biologist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (d. 2013)

Rodney Robert Porter, English biochemist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (d. 1985)

November 22Andrew Huxley, English scientist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (d. 2012)

December 9James Rainwater, American physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1986)

December 21Heinrich Böll, German writer, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1985)


March 31Emil von Behring, German winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (b. 1854)

July 27Emil Kocher, Swiss medical researcher, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (b. 1841)

November 11 – Queen Liliuokalani, last monarch of the Kingdom of Hawaii (b. 1838)

November 15Émile Durkheim, French sociologist (b. 1858)

March 8Ferdinand von Zeppelin, German inventor (b. 1838)

Nobels 1917

PhysicsCharles Glover Barkla

Chemistry – not awarded

Medicine – not awarded

LiteratureKarl Adolph Gjellerup, Henrik Pontoppidan

PeaceInternational Committee of the Red Cross

Meta: I want to thank Erratio because this would not have gotten done without me.  All love goes in that general direction.  I am just posting.

Cross post: https://www.lesserwrong.com/posts/Fer3LkjxnLvLLvGv3/2017-a-year-in-science

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