Special Online Collection: Breakthrough of the Year 2009

Breakthrough of the Year 2009

In the 18 December 2009 issue, the editors and news staff of Science look back at the big science stories of the past 12 months and dub one of them the Breakthrough of the Year. A special section showcases the top breakthrough and the nine runners-up, rates last year's predictions, and forecasts areas to watch in 2010. Science Careers profiles two young researchers involved in this year's Breakthrough achievement and a video presentation and special edition of the Science Podcast round out the special section.

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Video Presentation

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A video introduction to the year's top science story, featuring scientists C. Owen Lovejoy, Tim White, Giday WoldeGabriel, Yohannes Haile-Selassie, Science contributing correspondent Ann Gibbons, and commentary by paleoanthropologist Andrew Hill.

Special "Breakthrough" Podcast

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In a special edition of the Science Podcast, the journal's news staff reviews the top scientific stories of 2009. [More podcasts]

Plus: On Science Careers . . .

Breakthrough of the Year: A Tale of Two Paleontologists
E. Pain
Two young paleontologists tell how they got involved in the field work that uncovered Ardipithecus ramidus in Ethiopia.

Editorial: The Breakthroughs of 2009 >
Science Editor-in-Chief Bruce Alberts overviews the big stories from 2009 covered in this year's Breakthrough issue.
Breakthrough of the Year: Ardipithecus ramidus >
A rare 4.4-million-year-old skeleton draws back the curtain of time to reveal the surprising body plan and ecology of our earliest ancestors.
Online ExtraVideo: Ardipithecus ramidus >
A video introduction to the year's top science story, featuring scientists C. Owen Lovejoy, Tim White, Giday WoldeGabriel, Yohannes Haile-Selassie, Science contributing correspondent Ann Gibbons, and commentary by paleoanthropologist Andrew Hill.
The Runners-Up >
This year's runners-up for Breakthrough of the Year include new gamma-ray observations, the long-sought receptor for a key plant hormone, magnetic monopoles, a drug that increases life span, ice on the moon, gene-therapy successes, insights into the properties of graphene and how to use it to make novel devices, Hubble's rebirth, and the first x-ray laser.
Virus of the Year: H1N1 Influenza >
For years, scientists have been warning about the potential for an influenza pandemic on the order of the 1918 Spanish flu. But the pandemic that erupted last spring looks nothing like the one health officials have been preparing to combat.
Scorecard >
Science's editors clearly foresaw this year's burgeoning of plant genome sequences, progress on emissions reductions in the run-up to the U.N. conference in Copenhagen, and the continued failure to spot dark matter. Last year's other predictions will take more time to come to fruition.
Breakdown Revisited: Trying to Stay Afloat >
The global financial crisis made 2009 a tough year for many U.S. academic institutions dependent on state funding or endowments---but it has also been a banner year for thousands of individual scientists, whose labs have benefited from billions of dollars in U.S. government stimulus funding.
Areas to Watch >
In 2010, Science's editors will be watching for developments with induced pluripotent stem cells, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, "exome sequencing," disrupting the metabolism of tumor cells, and human space flight.