Friday, December 22, 2006

Breakthrough of the Year 2006

Science magazine has it's Breakthrough of the Year 2006 and it is...the proof of the Poincare Conjecture. No physics stories made the top 10. (One of my favorite results of the year, the sequencing of Neanderthal DNA, was their #2 story).

One refreshing thing that Science does to go back to their predictions for 2006 and own up to where they were right, and where they missed the boat. This is, of course, something you would never expect from palm readers, televangelists, chiropractors, or similar quacks; but it is part and parcel with the intellectual attitudes of professional scientists. The magazines editors admit getting several predictions wrong, like first observatiosn from LIGO of gravity waves (but they also point out that analysis results are expected to be made public by March). They also make predictions, or "areas to watch", for 2007.

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