2018 in science

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List of years in science (table)

A number of significant scientific events have occurred or are scheduled to occur in 2018.

Events[edit]

January[edit]

9 January: A potentially major setback for CRISPR is reported, as it is shown to trigger an immune response in many humans.
24 January: Creation, using nuclear DNA transfer, for the first time, of clones of a primate (specifically, crab-eating macaque monkeys similar to the one in the picture) reported.[33][34]

February[edit]

6 February: Successful launch of the Falcon Heavy, the most powerful rocket since the Space Shuttle program.[59]
14 February: Researchers found that blocking the enzyme beta-secretase (BACE1) in mice reduces formation of plaques responsible for Alzheimer's disease.[71][72]

March[edit]

8 March: First detection of natural Ice VII (see structure above) on Earth.[88][89]
  • 8 March – Scientists report the first detection of natural ice VII on Earth, previously it was only produced artificially. It may be common on the moons Enceladus, Europa and Titan.[88][89]
  • 9 March – NASA medical researchers report that human spaceflight may alter gene expression in astronauts, based on twin studies where one astronaut twin, Scott Kelly, spent nearly one year in space while the other, Mark Kelly, remained on Earth.[90][91][92]
  • 13 March – Scientists report that Archaeopteryx, a prehistoric feathered dinosaur, was likely capable of flight, but in a manner substantially different from that of modern birds.[93][94]
  • 15 March
  • 19 March – Uber suspends all of its self-driving cars worldwide after a woman is killed by one of the vehicles in Arizona. This is the first recorded fatality using a fully automated version of the technology.[101]
  • 22 March – Scientists at Harvard Medical School identify a key mechanism behind vascular aging and muscle decline in mice. Their study shows that treating the animals with a chemical compound called NMN enhances blood vessel growth and reduces cell death, boosting their stamina and endurance.[102]
  • 26 March
    • A study in Geophysical Research Letters concludes that West Greenland's ice sheet is melting at its fastest rate in centuries.[103]
    • The world's first total transplant of a penis and scrotum is performed by surgeons at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, operating on a soldier who was wounded in Afghanistan.[104]

April[edit]

10 April: Centuries' worth of rare-earth metals reported near the island of Minami-Tori-shima (pictured).
26 April: NASA and ESA agree to develop Mars sample return missions.[122][123][124]

May[edit]

11 May: NASA approves the Mars Helicopter Scout for the Mars 2020 rover mission.[142][143][144]
14 May: Water plumes on Europa detected by the Galileo space probe.[151][152][153][154]

June[edit]

1 June: Mars dust storm (before/after) detected that may affect the survivability of the Opportunity rover.[174][175]
20 June: Gene-edited pigs are made resistant to porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, one of the world's most costly animal diseases.[198]

July[edit]

2 July: First confirmed image of a newborn planet, exoplanet PDS 70b, several times larger than the planet Jupiter.[218][219][220]
  • 2 July
  • 10 July – Researchers at the University of Michigan show that increased atmospheric CO2 reduces the medicinal properties of milkweed plants that protect monarch butterflies from disease.[222]
  • 11 July – Scientists report the discovery in China of the oldest stone tools outside of Africa, estimated at 2.12 million years old.[223]
  • 12 July
    • The IceCube Neutrino Observatory announces that they have traced a neutrino that hit their Antarctica-based research station in September 2017 back to its point of origin in a blazar 3.7 billion light-years away. This is the first time that a neutrino detector has been used to locate an object in space.[224][225][226]
    • Using NASA's Hubble and ESA's Gaia, astronomers make the most precise measurements to date of the universe's expansion rate – a figure of 73.5 km (45.6 miles) per second per megaparsec – reducing the uncertainty to just 2.2 percent.[227]
  • 16 July – A study by the University of Wisconsin-Madison concludes that thousands of miles of buried Internet infrastructure could be damaged or destroyed by rising sea levels within 15 years.[228]
  • 17 July – Scientists led by Scott S. Sheppard report the discovery of 12 new moons of Jupiter, taking its total number to 79. This includes an "oddball", Valetudo (originally known as S/2016 J 2; Roman-numeral designation Jupiter LXII), that is predicted to eventually collide with a neighbouring moon.[229][230]
25 July: Radar image of a subglacial lake on Mars.

August[edit]

8 August: Stromatoveris psygmoglena, which dominated oceans a half billion years ago, found to be a member of Animalia.[248]
16 August: First complete map of the wheat genome.
  • 18 August – Research presented at the Goldschmidt conference in Boston concludes that water is likely to be a common feature of exoplanets between two and four times the size of Earth, with implications for the search of life in our Galaxy.[271]
  • 20 August
  • 21 August – Scientists announce the first direct evidence for exposed water-ice on the Moon's surface, which is found in permanently shaded regions.[275]
  • 22 August
    • Scientists report evidence of a 13 year-old hominin female, nicknamed Denny, estimated to have lived 90,000 years ago, and who was determined to be half Neanderthal and half Denisovan, based on genetic analysis of a bone fragment discovered in Denisova Cave; the first time an ancient individual was discovered whose parents belonged to distinct human groups.[276][277][278]
    • Researchers report evidence of rapid shifts (in geological-time terms), nearly 30 times faster than known previously, of geomagnetic reversals, where the north magnetic pole of Earth becomes the south magnetic pole and vice versa, including a chronozone that lasted only 200 years, much shorter than any other such reversal found earlier.[279]
  • 28 August – Physicists officially report, for the first time, observing the Higgs boson decay into a pair of bottom quarks, an interaction that is primarily responsible for the "natural width" (range of masses with which a particle is observed) of the boson.[280]
  • 30 August – Researchers from the Chinese University of Hong Kong report a new way of controlling nanobots, using swarm behaviours to do complex tasks in minimally invasive surgeries.[281][282]

September[edit]

3 September: Hexagon (in 2013 & 2017) at the north pole on the planet Saturn may be a jet stream of atmospheric gases moving at 320 km/h (200 mph) and 300 km (190 mi) high.[283][284]
  • 3 September – Astronomers present evidence that the 32,000 km (20,000 mi) wide hexagon at the north pole of the planet Saturn (possibly a jet stream of atmospheric gases moving at 320 km/h (200 mph)) may be 300 km (190 mi) high, well into the stratosphere, at least during the northern spring and summer, rather than lower in the troposphere as thought earlier.[283][284]
  • 6 September – A study by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign finds that large-scale solar panels and wind turbines in the Sahara desert would have a major impact on rainfall, vegetation and temperatures – potentially greening the region.[285][286]
  • 7 September
  • 9 September – Astronomers report detecting another 72 Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs), using artificial intelligence, from FRB 121102 that had been missed earlier, resulting in about 300 total FRBs from this object. FRB 121102 is the only known repeating fast radio source which is very unusual since all other currently known FRBs (very powerful and extremely short-lived astronomical objects) have not been found to repeat, occurring one time only.[289][290][291]
16 September: Medical study: use of low-dose aspirin by older healthy people may not be beneficial and, in some case, may be harmful.[292][293]
24 September: Astronomers describe several possible star systems from where 'Oumuamua, an interstellar object passing through the Solar System, may have begun its journey.[303]
25 September: Vorombe titan (similar to purple above; maroon, an ostrich; all others non-avian theropod dinosaurs), an extinct elephant bird, determined to be the largest bird known to have existed.[314][315][316]

October[edit]

3 October: Evidence presented for first known exomoon, which may be orbiting exoplanet Kepler-1625b.[325][326]
8 October: IPCC releases Special Report on Global Warming, noting the need to keep global warming below 1.5°C.[337][338][339]
24 October: Oldest weapons, chert spear points, dated as early as 15,500 years ago, found in North America [note: similar, but more recent, clovis point pictured][364][365]

November[edit]

1 November: The Dawn spacecraft, that studied protoplanets, Ceres and Vesta, is retired after an 11 year mission – last views pictured.[379]
  • 1 November
  • 2 November
    • Two independent teams of astronomers both conclude, based on numerous observations from other astronomers around the world, that the unusual AT2018cow event (also known as Supernova 2018cow, SN 2018cow, and "The Cow"), a very powerful astronomical explosion, 10 – 100 times brighter than a normal supernova detected on 16 June 2018, was "either a newly formed black hole in the process of accreting matter, or the frenetic rotation of a neutron star."[387][388][389][390]
    • The world’s largest neuromorphic supercomputer, the million-core 'SpiNNaker' machine, is switched on by the University of Manchester, England.[391]
5 November: Polar ozone holes are healing faster than previously thought, and are expected to completely heal by 2060.[392][393]

Predicted and scheduled events[edit]

November[edit]

  • 26 November – Expected arrival of the InSight spacecraft at the planet Mars.[146]

December[edit]

Date unknown[edit]

Awards[edit]

Deaths[edit]

  • January 5 – Thomas Bopp, American astronomer (b. 1949)
  • February 1 – Barys Kit, Belarusian-American rocket scientist (b. 1910)
  • February 2 – Joseph Polchinski, American theoretical physicist (b. 1954)
  • February 4 – Alan Baker, British mathematician (b. 1939)
  • February 5 – Donald Lynden-Bell, British astrophysicist (b. 1935)
  • February 10 – Alan R. Battersby, British organic chemist (b. 1925)
  • February 18 – Günter Blobel, German-American biologist and Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1936)
  • February 21 – Richard E. Taylor, Canadian physicist and Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1929)
  • March 6 – John Sulston, British biologist and Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1942)
  • March 14 – Stephen Hawking, British theoretical physicist and cosmologist (b. 1942)[417]
  • April 7 – Peter Grünberg, German physicist and Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1939)
  • June 29 – Arvid Carlsson, Swedish neuropharmacologist and Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1923)
  • July 18 – Burton Richter, American physicist and Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1931)
  • September 23 – Charles K. Kao, Hong Kong-American-British physicist and Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1933)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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