Best science stories of 2013

Contrail over buildings
In this photo provided by, a meteor contrail is seen over Chelyabinsk on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. The meteor caused sharp explosions and injured hundreds people, including many hurt by broken glass.
Yekaterina Pustynnikova/AP

Science journalist Maggie Koerth-Baker joins The Daily Circuit to look back at the biggest science stories of 2013. She'll make some predictions about major science developments to come in 2014.


U.S. Sequestration: A Body Blow to Science
U.S. researchers shuddered on March 1, 2013, when the sweeping federal budget cuts known as the sequester went into effect. Born amid congressional failure to strike a budget deal, sequestration forced the slashing of $85 billion in government spending for the remainder of the fiscal year — and with it, a cascade of cuts to research funding. (Scientific American)

The universe might be a hologram
Reported in Nature magazine, scientists said they had uncovered "compelling evidence" that the universe was one huge projection. Two days after publishing the original article, Nature noted that over a million people had read the report. (International Business Times)

Functioning Organs Made From Stem Cells
Researchers around the world are using stem cells to grow the precursors to replacement tissues and organs. 2013 saw impressive breakthroughs in a couple of these research projects. In Japan, cell biologists reprogrammed skin cells into stem cells, from which they generated functional mini livers called liver buds. (Discover magazine)

It's Official: Toxic Flame Retardants No Longer Required in Furniture
A typical sofa now hits the market with two to three pounds of chemicals that can cause cancer and reproductive problems. Starting in January, 2014, a new flame retardant standard will take effect, eliminating the need for furniture makers to inject the chemicals into upholstered chairs, sofas, and other items. (KQED)

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