Sunday, August 19, 2007

Discover's scientist of the year

Discover magazine came out with their scientist of the year selection, with two runner-ups. While the scientists themselves are interesting, it's the fields that I'm most curious about. What's the sexiest science in 2007? Well the first scientist is Jay Keasling, working in, you guessed it, synthetic biology. He's famous for making a bug that spits out artemisin, a natural anti-malarial drug. He's now set his sights on making biofuel. Synthetic biology + biofuels is definitely the sexiest science right now. I must admit it wouldn't be my first thought to apply synthetic biology to producing fuel, it doesn't seem like a natural fit to me, and there is so much to figure out before making something as complex as a fuel. maybe it's just me.

The second runner up is John Donoghue, who works on brain/machine interface. Also sexy sexy science. He's working on wireless chips to implant in the brains of paraplegics to allow fine motor control. There has been a lot of progress lately in this field, with artificial retinas etc... A good choice.

The third runner up is Svante Pääbo, who wants to sequence the entire Neanderthal genome. To date, they've only managed 30Mb, still it's no small feat. However it's not the sexiest field, I mean 1999 called and they want their genome project back.

So whatever happened to stem cell biology, the former darling of hot science?


5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Those are last year's Discover Scientist of the Year, so you may still get your stem cell biology this December!

Bayman said...

Stem cells are so 2000. This year will be the year of the stem cell deniers, mark my words.

Anonymous Coward said...

You know, I wish somebody actually from that field would come in and bash our arguments. Being a denier is no fun without a fight. The best person I've seen defending the cancer stem cell hypothesis is Ken, he said "bottom line you can enrich a subpopulation of cells within a breast tumour which can form several orders of magnitude more tumours, whatever you call that cell, that's still significant."

Bayman said...

Clearly the stem cell believers are as imaginary as stem cells themselves.

stem cell sympathizer said...

your reasoning is so wishy-washy and incoherent i don't even know what to argue with...