Science Review 2012 – Top 100 science stories: Nos 90-86

27 Nov 2012

This image was taken over the Arctic Ocean at altitude of circa 71 degrees North on 15 April 2010. Image by NASA/JPL

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 coming month to the top 100 most popular science and innovation stories of 2012. Our countdown continues below.

Padraig Healy, Dell & LITs president Dr Maria Hinfelaar

90 – Limerick Institute of Technology reveals €200m master plan for 2030

Limerick Institute of Technology has unveiled an ambitious €200m master plan to modernise its campus and provide economic stimulus to the entire mid-west region in Ireland between now and 2030. According to sources, the first phase of the programme – worth €20m – up to 2015 has been 80pc funded from undisclosed donors.

The investment will see an additional 50,000 sq feet of facilities, as well as extensive refurbishment of existing facilities.

Science Week 2012

89 – Science Week kicks off, with events across Ireland to celebrate experimenting

The start of Science Week 2012 saw more than 5,000 people converge at the Institute of Technology Sligo for its annual science fair. During the week, more than 600 events were held around Ireland to show how science plays a role in our everyday lives.

Science Week itself is run by Discover Science & Engineering, an Irish Government initiative that’s managed by Science Foundation Ireland to promote more interest from both students and the general public in the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.

Hubble Telescope

88 – Hubble telescope captures birth of new stars in nearby galaxy

The Hubble space telescope has captured the energetic birth of new stars from NGC 4700, a galaxy poised about 50m light years from Earth and which astronomer William Herschel first discovered back in 1786.

Named after the astronomer Edwin Hubble, the Hubble telescope itself is a NASA/European Space Agency initiative. The telescope was launched into space from the now-retired space shuttle Discovery back in 1990.

NASA's curiosity rover

87 – Curiosity rover gives us the first 360-degree colour panorama of Gale Crater on Mars

NASA’s Curiosity rover has gotten into its stride on Mars, as the rover’s imager sent back its first colour panorama of Gale Crater, where it is basing itself for the next two years to carry out scientific experiments.

The panorama has been captured by the rover, which has optimised its software to start to carry out experiments to see if life has ever existed on the red planet.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)

86 – Arctic could be source of methane leaks, NASA says

NASA scientists at the US space agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California are claiming that cracks in frozen parts of the Arctic Ocean’s surface could be leading to increased emissions of the greenhouse gas methane, created by living organisms near the ocean’s surface.

The findings have been published in Nature Geoscience.