On Oct. 7, 2020, Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for their work on CRISPR. The scientists first developed the gene-editing technology in 2012 and were finally recognized for their efforts and further developments of the tool this year. A member of the Nobel Committee weighed in on the decision, saying it has “revolutionized the life sciences … We can now easily edit genomes as desired—something that before was hard, or even impossible … Only imagination sets the limits for what this chemical tool … can be used for in the future. Perhaps the dream of curing genetic diseases will come true.”
The eagerly anticipated win wasn’t the only big science news to come out of 2020. Other notable events include the lightning-fast work scientists and researchers around the world completed with regards to COVID-19, from understanding the virus to developing a vaccine. The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, which would harness the power of fusion (the nuclear reaction that powers the sun and stars) as a source of safe, green, and limitless energy, got one step closer to completion when all of its parts arrived and passed testing. Major leaps were made in quantum computing technology. Scientists developed a super-enzyme that can break down plastics six times faster than anything we currently have. And so much more.
While Stacker can’t cover every major news story to come out of the scientific sphere this year, we can give you the highlights. Using news and industry sources, Stacker compiled a collection of 50 incredible images showcasing groundbreaking science-related milestones and events that took place in 2020. From research teams breaking new ground in Antarctica to the discovery of mammoth bones and Egyptian sarcophagi to the development of a COVID-19 vaccine, these photos are sure to inspire you with wonder and ignite curiosity in the world around us.
You may also like: 40 major glaciers in danger of melting