Science Review 2012 – Top 100 science stories: Nos 20-16

17 Dec 2012

The 'Invisible Mercedes' F-Cell vehicle cruises Germany's streets

We continue our countdown of Ireland’s top science and innovation stories of 2012. It was the year Dublin became the European City of Science and major scientific breakthroughs occurred in every field.

During four days in July, international scientists, policy-makers and business leaders, as well as the general public, converged on the Euroscience Open Forum in Dublin, the highlight in a year full of science and innovation events, such as Science Week, Nanoweek, and Engineers Week.

Most notable during 2012, however, is the impact young people in Ireland have been making in innovation. James Whelton’s CoderDojo movement has gone international, student Paddy Mulcahy won the Irish leg of the 2012 James Dyson award, Mark Kelly and Eric Doyle, this year’s overall winners at the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition, also scooped another top award at the EUCYS, and teenager Joanne O’Riordan, who has no limbs, gave a speech to global leaders at a United Nations conference for Girls in ICT Day on how technology has changed her life.

To celebrate a year that also included great research, discoveries and partnerships, has dedicated this month to the top 100 most popular science and innovation stories of 2012. Our countdown continues below.

Four Irish universities listed among top 200 universities in the world

20 – Four Irish universities listed among top 200 universities in the world

Four Irish universities have been listed among the world’s top 200, according to the QS University Rankings. These include: Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, Queen’s University of Belfast and University College Cork.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology topped the list at No 1, with a score of 100, followed by University of Cambridge (UK), with a score of 99.8, Harvard scored of 99.2, University College London sored 98.7 and University of Oxford received a score of 98.6.

Trinity College Dublin came in at No 67 on the list with an overall score of 71.3.

University College Dublin came in at No 131 on the list with an overall score of 59.1.

Paddy Mulcahy

19 – 21-year-old Irish James Dyson Award winner’s invention aims to prevent spread of hospital super-bugs

An invention by Paddy Mulcahy, a 21-year-old Limerick student, to prevent the spread of hospital infections has won the Irish leg of the 2012 James Dyson Award. U-neat is an innovative sanitary hospital bed table and locker, designed to minimise the spread of Health Care Associated Infections.

Mulcahy has just completed the bachelor’s degree in product design and technology at the University of Limerick. He was determined to make improvements to the Irish healthcare system by tackling this problem.

Oblique view of the Borrego Fault

18 – NASA pioneers 3D earthquake mapping with geologists

Geologists have come up with a new 3D tool that studies how earthquakes change landscapes, paving the way for scientists to have more insight into how earthquakes behave. The research team studied the earthquake that struck near Mexicali, northern Mexico, on 4 April 2010.

They believe they have reported the most comprehensive before-and-after picture yet of an earthquake zone.

The 2010 earthquake itself measured 7.2 on the moment magnitude scale and supposedly lasted for about a minute and a half.

The Earth as seen by the Apollo 17

17 – How planet Earth sounds from space – NASA recording

We know what planet Earth looks like from space, but can you hear it from space, even though sound cannot travel through a vacuum? NASA has released a rather eerie, out-of-this-world recording that captures an electromagnetic phenomenon called chorus, which happens as a result of plasma waves in the Earth’s radiation belts.

The recording was beamed back to Earth by NASA’s twin radiation belt storm probes that were launched into space in August.

The probes will be exploring two regions around Earth called the Van Allen Belts, where chorus comes from, for the next two years. That’s because researchers believe these two regions are filled with high-energy particles or ‘killer electrons’, caused by chorus, which may pose a risk to both satellites and astronauts.

The 'Invisible Mercedes' F-Cell vehicle

16 – Daimler scientists create Invisible Mercedes via LED tech

Now you see it, now you don’t! Mercedes-Benz researchers in Germany have used an innovative marketing ploy to promote the new Mercedes-Benz F-Cell hydrogen-fuelled car. They’ve created the illusion of an invisible car by deploying optical camouflage using LED technologies and a video camera.

The Daimler researchers used the zero-emissions Mercedes Benz F-Cell as their guinea pig and then took the vehicle for a spin around Germany’s streets to show people how you can make a car virtually disappear.