2017 in news: The science events that shaped the year

Dec 18, 2017

By Ewen Callaway, Davide Castelvecchi, David Cyranoski, Elizabeth Gibney, Heidi Ledford, Jane J. Lee, Lauren Morello, Nicky Phillips, Quirin Schiermeier, Jeff Tollefson & Alexandra Witze

From political chaos to cases of sexual harassment, scientists have had a tough year. But there were also bright spots, including approval of a new type of cancer treatment and the detection of gravitational waves from a neutron-star collision.

When stars collide

This year marked the start of a new era in astronomy: one in which scientists can study celestial phenomena through the radiation they emit and the ripples they create in space-time. On 16 October, researchers revealed the first observations of the collision of two neutron stars. This confirmed detailed predictions of how such clashes created some mysterious γ-ray bursts and also most of the Universe’s heavier elements, including gold and uranium.

Physicists detected the collision’s ripples in the form of gravitational waves. And more than 70 teams of astronomers watched the aftermath using telescopes to monitor everything from γ-rays to the radio-frequency spectrum.

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One comment on “2017 in news: The science events that shaped the year”

  • @OP – 2017 in news: The science events that shaped the year

    At a basic application of technology level, but nonetheless crucially important, is the progress in the commercial operation of renewable power generation systems!


    UK enjoyed ‘greenest year for electricity ever’ in 2017

    The UK has achieved its greenest year ever in terms of how the nation’s electricity is generated, National Grid figures reveal.

    The rise of renewable energy helped break 13 clean energy records in 2017.

    In June, for the first time, wind, nuclear and solar power generated more UK power than gas and coal combined.

    Britain has halved carbon emissions in the electricity sector since 2012 to provide the fourth cleanest power system in Europe and seventh worldwide.

    In April, the UK had its first 24-hour period without using any coal power since the Industrial Revolution.

    The government is committed to phasing out unabated coal by 2025 as part of efforts to cut the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions in line with legal obligations.

    Separate findings from power research group MyGridGB show that renewable energy sources provided more power than coal for 90% of 2017, figures up to 12 December show.

    British wind farms produced more electricity than coal plants on more than 75% of days this year.

    This changing landscape saw the cost of offshore wind power fall below the price of nuclear for the first time.

    But despite the successes, groups warned the UK must now tackle its reliance on gas if it is to meet its emission targets.

    The daily output of gas was outstripped by wind on just two days of the year.

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