Two science reporters at the BBC – Jason Palmer and Paul Rincon – have put together an article outlining their predictions as to what the main science stories will be in 2012. A difficult task for sure, but I think they get it just about right. Three of their predictions are as follows:
1) Thanks to the Large Hadron Collider, a definitive answer to the question: “Does the Higgs boson exist?” will be proffered. Who cares? you might ask. Well, the particle is a vital missing piece in the theory of particle physics and explains why everything has “mass”.
2) The discovery of new planets will move apace in 2012. Next year, Palmer and Rincon contend, we are likely to see something decisively more like our planet earth. Once we do, we can then move on to the vexed questions about whether other planets host life, and if they do, then in what form.
3) Much light will be shed on understanding our past, in terms of our genetic heritage, in 2012. For example, DNA analysis from humans may shed light on unresolved questions, such as the degree to which modern Europeans are descended from Palaeolithic hunters or Neolithic farmers. Also, the forthcoming publication of the genome of ‘Oetzi the Iceman’ may also provide clues as to how much human populations have changed since the Stone Age. Fascinating stuff.
Palmer and Rincon also make predictions in the realms of material science and also a mission to Mars. You can read their full article here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-16070460