17 December 1998

Universe Expands Into Infinity

In their now annual review Science magazine has announced it's top ten scientific advances for 1998.

1. The Accelerating Universe

The discovery that galaxies of the cosmos are flying apart at ever faster speeds and that the expansion of the universe is in fact speeding up. Way to go - we're out of here.

2. Circadian Rhythms

Almost every organism on Earth keeps track of the 24-hour cycle between night and day using its "circadian clock". Synthesise this into a drug and it'll be party time till the Universe expands into eternity.

Then, in no particular order :

3. Potassium Channel Structure

How messages are sent along nerves. The next stage enroute to the biological computer?

4. Cancer Treatment and Prevention

New wonder drugs : Heceptin, Tamoxifen, and Raloxifene. But of course we know this is all bollox - refer to Lies, Damn Lies…

5. Combinatorial Chemistry

Researchers make and test hundreds of thousands of new compounds at once. The onward march of the mega-corp pharma companies.

6. Genomics

C. elegans worm, the first multi-cellular animal to be sequenced. Spooky - playing God with our genes.

7. Neutrino Mass

Neutrinos have mass - now we'll have to rethink the composition of the Universe.

8. Biochips

Micromachines are on the march, as is the nano guitar we reported on in May

9. Quantum Leaps

Star Trek's transporter room gets closer. Particle quantum state information was transported between US and Europe which was then used to create an identical particle

10. Molecular Mimicry

The discovery that infection causes the immune system to attack the body's own molecules. Invest in the company that can be synthesise this idea into a weight-loss drug.

Tell us your Top Ten Scientific advances for 1998

Acknowledgement is made to Science Magazine for this story