Science Journals and News
The Science Family of Journals publishes research advances in the full range of science topics. Original news reporting and commentary explore ramifications and provide perspective on science issues.
Breakthrough of the Year
With much of the globe in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic, Science named the safe, highly effective vaccines — developed in record time after impressive scientific collaboration — its 2020 Breakthrough of the Year. But the record pace of the science in response to the pandemic also led to missteps and the development of alarming fissures between scientists and policymakers. These issues are highlighted in an accompanying essay on Science’s Breakdown of the Year.
Special Issues and News Highlights
Science published several special issues in 2020, including “Chemistry for Tomorrow’s Earth,” “Drought,” “Early Life Immunology” and “Democracy in the Balance.” Also in 2020, news stories won multiple awards, including the National Association of Science Writers’ Science in Society award, the Society for American Archaeology writing prize, and the American Cancer Society’s cancer journalism award.
DETERMINING THE STRUCTURE OF SARS-CoV-2’s SPIKE: Just weeks after the genome sequence of SARS-CoV-2 was published online, researchers reported on the cryogenic electron microscopy structure of the spike protein it uses to gain entry to host cells. (Science, March 13)
TEMPERATURE EXTREMES DECREASE BUMBLEBEE POPULATIONS: Climate change has contributed to drastic declines in the population and diversity of bumblebees across Europe and North America, according to a long-term analysis of more than 60 bee species. (Science, Feb. 7)
A LIGHT APPROACH TO QUANTUM ADVANTAGE: By harnessing light, researchers developed an optical circuit that performed a quantum computation called Gaussian boson sampling 100 trillion times faster than a supercomputer can. (Science, Dec. 18)
BROAD-SPECTRUM ANTIVIRAL SHOWS PROMISING EARLY RESULTS AGAINST SARS-CoV-2: Early testing in cultured cells revealed that a broad-spectrum, oral antiviral drug called EIDD-2801 could aid the fight against SARS-CoV-2. (Science Translational Medicine, April 29)
SENSORY DEVICE STIMULATES EARS AND TONGUE TO TREAT TINNITUS IN LARGE TRIAL: A device that stimulates the ears and tongue substantially reduced the severity of tinnitus symptoms in 326 patients for as long as one year. (Science Translational Medicine, Oct. 7)
APPROACH TESTED IN SMALL GROUP VISUALLY EVALUATES MASK EFFECTIVENESS: Scientists developed a simple approach to visually evaluate how effectively different masks prevent the spread of droplets that may contain SARS-CoV-2 virus particles. (Science Advances, Sept. 2)
THE U.S. CONTRIBUTION TO PLASTIC WASTE IN 2016: Despite its robust waste management system, the U.S. generated about 42 million metric tons of plastic waste in 2016 — more than any other country in the world — a new study reported. (Science Advances, Oct. 30)
SARS-CoV-2-ATTACKING T CELLS FOUND IN COVID-19 PATIENTS AND UNINFECTED CONTROLS: People with severe COVID-19 can rapidly generate virus-attacking T cells, according to a study of 10 patients. In addition, two out of 10 healthy individuals without virus exposure harbored SARS-CoV-2-reactive T cells.
(Science Immunology, June 26)
MOUSE STUDY HIGHLIGHTS EFFECTS OF LIFE-EXTENDING CALORIE RESTRICTION: In mice, scientists tied some of the biological effects of calorie restriction — known for its life-extending effects in animals — to metabolic molecules affected by temperature changes. (Science Signaling, Sept. 8).
A PROMISING NASA ROVER DESIGN FOR TRAVERSING LOOSE SOILS ON OTHER PLANETS: A model of NASA’s Resource Prospector 15 rover was able to paddle out of unpredictably shifting terrain, highlighting the promise of next-generation rovers to explore sites once out of reach. (Science Robotics, May 13)