The most important scientific headlines of 2022

The most important scientific headlines of 2022

The most important scientific headlines of 2022

Scientific discovery and technological innovation play a vital role in addressing many of the challenges and crises we face each year.

The past year may have passed quickly, but scientists and researchers have worked hard to advance our knowledge across a number of disciplines, industries and projects around the world.

As 2022 progresses, it’s easy to lose track of all the amazing stories in science and technology.

At a glance: key scientific headlines of 2022

Below we take a closer look at some of the most interesting headlines, while providing links in case you want to explore these developments further.

January 2022

The James Webb Space Telescope arrives at its destination

What happened: A new space telescope promises exciting findings and beautiful images of the last frontier. This telescope builds on the legacy of its predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescopewhich was launched more than 30 years ago.

Why it matters: The James Webb Space Telescope is our newest state-of-the-art “window” into deep space. With greater access to the infrared spectrum, new images, measurements and observations of space will become available.

» Read for more information This article from The Planetary Society, or view this video from the Wall Street Journal.

April 2022

Complete: the human genome

What happened: Scientists complete the sequence of the human genome.

Why it matters: A complete human genome will enable researchers to better understand the genetic basis of human traits and diseases. New therapies and treatments are likely to emerge from this development.

» Look for more information this video by Two Minute Papers, or read This article from NIH

May 2022

Monkeypox breaks out

What happened: A higher number of cases of the monkeypox virus has been reported in non-endemic countries.

Why it matters: In the shadow of a global pandemic, researchers are keeping a close eye on the spread of disease. The sudden spike in multinational cases of monkeypox raises questions about disease evolution and prevention.

» Read for more information This article by the New York Times.

June 2022

A perfectly preserved woolly mammoth

What happened: Gold diggers unearth a 35,000-year-old well-preserved baby woolly mammoth in the Yukon tundra.

Why it matters: The mammoth, called Nu cho ga by the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation, is the most complete specimen yet discovered in North America. Each new discovery allows paleontologists to broaden our knowledge of biodiversity and how life changes over time.

» Read for more information This article from Smithsonian Magazine

July 2022

The rise of AI art

What happened: Access to new computer programs, such as DALL-E and Midjourney, allows members of the general public to create images of text prompts.

Why it matters: Widespread access to generative AI tools fuels inspiration and controversy. Concerns about artist rights and copyright violations are growing as these programs potentially threaten to diminish creative labor.

» Read for more information This article by MyModernMet, or look this video by Cleo Abram.

August 2022

Dead organs get a second chance

What happened: Researchers are creating a perfusion system that can revitalize organs after cell death. By using a special mixture of blood and nutrients, a dead pig’s organs can be maintained after death and in some cases even promote cell repair.

Why it matters: This discovery could potentially lead to longer shelf life and delivery of organs for transplantation.

» Read for more information This article by Scientific American, or This article from the New York Times

September 2022

DART delivers a cosmic push

What happened: NASA crashes a spacecraft into an asteroid to see how much it would move. Dimorphos, a moonlet orbiting a larger asteroid called Didymos 7 million miles from Earth, is hit by the DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) spacecraft. NASA estimates that as much as 22 million pounds (10 million kg) were ejected after the impact.

Why it matters: Earth is in constant danger of being hit by stray asteroids. Developing reliable methods for deflecting near-Earth objects could save us from the same fate as the dinosaurs.

» Look for more information this video by Real Engineering, or read This article from

November 2022

Falling sperm cells

What happened: A scientific review suggests that human sperm counts are declining – up to 62% over the past 50 years.

Why it matters: A lower sperm count makes it more difficult to conceive naturally. Concerns about declining men’s health worldwide also arise because sperm count is a measure of overall health. Researchers are looking at external stressors that can influence this trend, such as diet, environment or other resources.

» Go to for more information This article of the Guardian.

December 2022

Finding ancient DNA

What happened: Two million years old DNA has been found in Greenland.

Why it matters: DNA is a record of biodiversity. As well as showing that a desolate Arctic landscape was once teeming with life, ancient DNA provides hints about our progression to modern life and how biodiversity evolves over time.

» Read for more information This article from National Geographic

December 2022

Merging energy

What happened: The US Department of Energy reports that net energy gains have been achieved for the first time from the development of nuclear fusion.

Why it matters: Fusion is often seen as the holy grail of safe clean energy, and this latest milestone brings researchers one step closer to harnessing nuclear fusion to power the world.

» View for more information our infographic about fusion, or read This article from BBC

Science in the New Year

The future of scientific research looks bright. Researchers and scientists continue to push the boundaries of what we know and understand about the world around us.

For 2023, some disciplines are likely to continue to dominate headlines:

  • Progress inside space continues with projects such as the James Webb Space Telescope and SETI COSMIC’s hunt for life beyond Earth
  • Climate action may become more demanding as recovery and prevention of extreme weather events continue into the new year
  • Generative AI tools such as DALL-e and ChatGPT were opened to public use in 2022 and sparked widespread interest in the potential of artificial intelligence
  • Even in the lingering shadow of COVID-19, new therapies should take medicine to new areas

Where the science goes remains to be seen, but the past year inspires confidence that 2023 will be filled with even more progress.

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