The wonderful thing about science is that researchers are always pushing to produce the latest, greatest and most wonderful findings they can. They never let up. And 2013 was no exception.
From synthetic hearts that beat of their own accord, through treatments for HIV and amazing developments in fusion, to finding out why hot water freezes more quickly than cold, this year's headlines have been full of great science. Here are some of our favorites.
The Oldest Ever Genome Was Sequenced
Scientists have managed to sequence the genome of a 700,000-year-old horse—in the process generating the oldest complete DNA sequence yet.
Voyager 1 Left the Solar System
After months of back and forth, scientists agreed that NASA's Voyager 1has become the first manmade object to leave the solar system. And it only took 36 years to make the 12 billion mile-long journey.
Human Heart Tissue That Beats Autonomously Was Grown From Stem Cells
For the very first time, a research team has been able to grow human heart tissue that beats totally autonomously in its petri dish home.
Humans Were Officially Blamed for Climate Change
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a landmark report which places the blame for climate change squarely at the feet of humankind.
We've Gotten Way Closer to Solving HIV
At least 35 million people around the planet live with HIV, and it kills over 1.7 million people each year, so the fact that it's currently untreatable is one of the biggest medical problems of our time. But in recent years scientific advances seem to be kicking HIV's ass more effectively than ever—so is there hope that we neutralize the virus's threat? The answer is more hopeful than you think.
We Found the World's Largest Volcano on the Ocean Floor Near Japan
The biggest volcano ever found on Earth—one of the biggest we know of in the solar system—has been hidden for ages. But now scientists have found it, just chillin' beneath the sea. It's a monster.
Nuclear Fusion Broke Even For the First Time Ever
Nuclear fusion, the same process that powers the sun, could provide us with limitless cheap energy—but experiments to date have always used more power than they created. Now, though, researchers have apparently tipped that balance, making fusion a real possibility.
Archaeologists Found Stone-Tipped Spears That Pre-date the Human Race
Spears feel very much like a human weapon of war—so it's surprising to find out that, in fact, the stone-tipped projectiles pre-date our species by a bewildering 85,000 years.
An Incredible Remote Lost World Was Discovered With Never-Before-Seen Species
For the past few millennia, the dewy rainforests of Australia's Cape Melville have remained totally isolated from human interference. That is, until a team of scientists from James Cook University took humanity's first steps into a land untouched by time. What they found there was almost beyond belief.
An Insane Meteorite Struck Russia
A meteor exploded over the Chelyabinsk region of Russia, injuring hundreds of people and damaging buildings.
Scientists Worked Out What Hyperspace Travel Would Really Look Like
Hundreds of sci-fi movies have depicted hyperspace travel, where stars appear as streaks of light as the spacecraft in question surges forward. But according to a team of physicists, that's bullshit—and hyperspace travel would look a whole lot fuzzier.
We Finally Figured Out Why Hot Water Freezes Faster Than Cold
For centuries, scientists have puzzled over a counter-intutive observation: hot water, for some reason, seems to freeze faster than cold. Fortunately, now a team of physicists has worked out why it happens.
Chinese Researchers Created Potentially Deadly Strains of Avian Flu
A team of Chinese researchers have deliberately created deadly new strains of influenza in a veterinary laboratory—and are now on the receiving end of severe criticism from across the wider scientific community.
Scientists Found the Oldest Primate Skeleton Ever
Today's smallest primate, the pygmy mouse lemur, can reach up to about 5 inches in height—and that's even on the larger side. But the primate skeleton that researchers just uncovered, the oldest ever found on record, stood even smaller than our pygmy friend as it scampered around the earth a whole 55 million years ago.
The World's First Lab-Grown Meat Burger Was Cooked (And It Tasted Terrible)
The world's premier artificial, $300,000 lab-grown finally its way into human mouths today. Turns out it tastes pretty weird. Go figure.
Scientists Found the Wolverine Healing Gene
Deep within our bodies are all kinds of genes that turn on and off over the years, including the very genes that make you grow a body in the first place. This is where scientists are looking for the magical code that could enable us to regrow organs and regenerate limbs. A Harvard researcher thinks he might've found it.
... and We Finally Figured Out Why Kettles Whistle
This might shock you, but for over a century scientists have been pondering why kettles whistle—and completely failed to find an answer. That's all changed now, though, thanks to two scientists from the University of Cambridge who have worked out how it happens. Thank. Goodness. What a great 2013, science!