EDITORIAL. The 10 discoveries of the year 2021 – Sciences et Avenir

Let’s look at the moon. Or rather, let’s lower them to their ground. This is where nearly 2 kg of samples come from that the Chinese Chang’e 5 mission recently brought to Earth from a previously unexplored Lunar region, almost half a century after Apollo! His analysis rejuvenates the rocks – dated “barely” two billion years ago – in fact rewriting the great book of our satellite’s volcanic history, as our journalist Franck Daninos reports (p. 54). And it is by reading this delicious regolithic saga that we invite you this month, but also to a much broader (re) discovery: that of all the scientific advances that marked the year 2021!

“Our compilation of the highlights of 2021 is an opportunity to marvel at the prowess of scientists.”

Because behind the Covid-19 pandemic – which has been on center stage for almost two years with dramatic changes called Delta or Omicron – many innovations deserve to be discovered, that is, to return to the etymology of the word, which come out of the shadows. to be seen. Attentive readers, you will have noticed that all these topics have already been presented throughout the year on the pages of Sciences et Avenir – La Recherche, but this compilation has the merit of refreshing memory and putting these facts concerning all disciplines into perspective. : astronomy, medicine, archeology … Whether it is to restore sight to a blind person thanks to optogenetics (p. 39), to graft a pig kidney into a human (p. 42) or to observe for the first time a intermediate mass black hole (p. 48), each story is an opportunity to once again marvel at the exploits of scientists …

“The sweet feeling of dizziness that so many promising discoveries give us!”

But also to realize the extension of the fields of knowledge that we still have to clear. With this common goal: to better understand the world around us. To better protect it? In any case, this is what the Swiss and Canadian engineers learned of our journalist Loïc Chauveau, who have developed giant “fans” in charge of pumping CO2 to remove it from the atmosphere and thus help limit the rise in global temperatures (p. 64). It is also the work of these researchers who develop living engineering materials for buildings in order to, in particular, clean indoor air (p. 60). So let’s resolutely raise our eyes to the sky and let ourselves be conquered by the sweet sensation of vertigo that so many promising discoveries give us!

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