Yearly Roundup 1

Well it has been a very unique year. 2016 will go down in history as a year with a lot of controversy and a spree of tragic celebrity deaths, but hopefully some fortunate things as well. If a recount all the main physics stories was required the most major must be the discovery of gravitational waves. This is perhaps the most phenomenal revelation of the decade and so certainly makes it top of the year. The naming of the four new elements is certainly something we don’t get very often and so is probably worth a mention. In the field of biophysics there was the very first baby born with the DNA of three people in order to prevent the child inheriting an hereditary disease. The “special particle” in the large hadron collider was definitely news but maybe not for the right reasons but there was the announcement of the tetraquark family that was discovered when old data was re-examined. JUNO finally managed to reach its destination of course and in other astrophysics news there was the discovery of a plausibly inhabitable planet near alpha centurai and possibly my favourite but least talked about stories of all: Scientists have designed a solar sail powered spaceship just a couple of centimetres long. It has the capability to to travel at between 15% and 20% the speed of light and so could make it to the local centurai stars in about 20 to 30 years. Just the message they would send back would take 4 years to reach us but it would be the first human contact with another star. I almost become starry eyed thinking about it myself.

So even though it may seem all gloomy and the doom callers seem to be finally getting it right, there’s still a lot of positive things going on. No matter how everyone else is going to remember this year I will always remember it as both the year I started this blog and also a year of spectacular scientific achievement. So, until tomorrow, and I must say this has been a long time coming, good night and happy new year.

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