The Most Influential Scientists of 2012

scientists

MOST INFLUENTIAL SCIENTISTS OF 2012

Best College Reviews is taking a look at some of the most important science of the past year and celebrating those who helped make it happen.

John Hafernik

Area: Biology
From: San Francisco State University

Hafernik’s team of researchers revealed a startling factor in the potentially dangerous disappearance of honey bees worldwide: a parasitic fly that essentially hijacks the bees’ minds, leading them to abandon the hive. Bees are responsible for pollenating about a third of the U.S. food supply.

Cynthia Rosenzweig

Area: Climate change
From: NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies at Columbia University

Nearly 15 years ago, Rosenzweig and her colleagues at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies explored the effect of a super storm on a major city. Such predictions came to life when Superstorm Sandy struck the East Coast, causing dozens of deaths and widespread damage.

Nate Silver

Area: Statistics
From: The New York Times

Silver’s ever-growing resume of stunningly accurate predictions got a bit stouter as he accurately predicted the 2012 election results from all 50 states and Senate races in 31 of 33 U.S. states.

Adam Steltzner

Area: Engineering
From: Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Steltzner led the team behind the successful landing of NASA’s rover Curiosity, which safely touched down on the surface of Mars and quickly began beaming back stunning images of the Red Planet.

Rolf-Dieter Heuer

Area: Physics
From: CERN

Heuer, as the director general of CERN, the host lab of the Large Hadron Collider, urged his colleagues to go public with their discovery of the so-called “God” particle, the Higgs boson, which was one of the most exciting announcements of 2012.

Gary Landreth

Area: Medicine
From: Case Western Reserve University

Leading a team at Case Western Reserve University, Landreth and his colleagues discovered that a skin cancer drug when used in mice with Alzheimer’s began reversing plaque build-up in the brain almost immediately. Human trials are set to begin soon.

Elizabeth Iorns

Area: Genetics
From: Science Exchange

In launching the Reproducibility Initiative, Iorns aims to shake up the scientific community by having third-party researchers attempt to replicate important experiments to ensure consistent results.

Jo Handelsman

Area: Microbiology
From: Yale

Handelsman’s study lent credence to the belief that there’s a gender bias in science by revealing that research teams offered fictitious female applicants thousands less in salary and rated them less competent than male applicants.

James Cameron

Area: Filmmaking
From: National Geographic

The Oscar-winning director of “Titanic” and “Avatar” became the first person to visit the Marianas Trench’s Challenger Deep, Earth’s deepest area in a solo craft.

Ron Fouchier

Area: Virology
From: Erasmus MC

Using a few key genetic tweaks, Fouchier created a highly lethal strain of bird flu that could spread through the air, sparking a controversy over such work. Fouchier maintained that the research is necessary and safe, and he’s now begun research on a deadly pneumonia that has emerged from a bat virus in the Middle East.

SOURCES

National Geographic
livescience.com
CNN.com
Huffington Post

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