Dec 30, 2011

2011: a review from The All Results Journals

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-- the world in 2011 in less than 140 characters

In 2011, the world of science moved on, continuing its unrelenting pursuit for truth only really stumbling once or twice along the way. There were world firsts and major breakthroughs. There were retractions, new beginnings and things to wait for in 2012. With the year drawing to a close, it’s customary to sum up what has gone before, in view of looking forward to the year ahead.

Here at the All Results Journals we celebrated a year of chemistry, wondered about the biasness of English as a scientific language, welcomed 10 new volunteers and editorial board members, and opened up a new “Clinical Studies” section for submissions.

Our blog grew its readership and its contributing writers. Our top blog posts, in no particular order, focused on the positive side of the negative, debated the scientific language, explained to us what we don’t know about hard drinking, rehashed arsenic life, and taught students how to fail effectively.

2011 was a year for negative results. The Scientist calls them scandals, we call them negative results - case of more data needed. A whole list of retractions, including the controversial paper on the link between a mouse leukemia virus and chronic fatigue syndrome.

The story that won’t go away this year seems to be the arsenic life paper, which we covered here on the blog. Dr Rosie Redfield who is chronicling her efforts and attempts to replicate the original arsenic paper, is now one of Nature’s “people who mattered in 2011”.

In 2011, despite being the year to celebrate chemistry, was also very physics heavy. Faster than light neutrinos and God particles made the headlines, threatening to rewrite our basic notions of physics. The observation that sub-atomic neutrino particles can apparently cheat the speed of light and the search for the famed “God particle” needed a lot of faith, proving to be a story to look out for next year. Take a dice. A dice that you don’t know what the numbers are on it. For the sake of argument, let’s say only God knows what numbers are on the side. The number 5 appears twice. In 10 rolls you won’t be able to tell that 5 is more weighted. In 100, perhaps you’ll start to get an inkling. In 1000 you will know that something is definitely up. That’s exactly what searching for the Higgs boson feels like to researchers.

In 2011, we had Nobel prize winners and scientists of importance. The Scientist highlights its “top people of 2011” while Forbes magazine profiles the scientific world’s top 30 people in science under 30.

2011 had hundreds of scientific stories of note. Answering age old scientific questions and throwing up new ones. How many species on Earth? How often did humans ans neanderthals have sex? How hard is it to be a scientist and have a life at the same time (being in the lab on your wedding day)? How does the malaria vaccine work? And the age old question of funding?

2012 should be more of the same for science, with more questions and more answers. The beauty of science and the journey is that with the more answers we gain the more there is still left to know.

We here at the All Results Journals hope you will all join us in 2012! HAPPY NEW YEAR

Written by Dr. Charles Ebikeme and David Alcantara for The All Results Journals. 

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