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The scientific histories that defined 2020: coronavirus, diversity movements, and more

To say that 2020 has been a challenge is an understatement. A world devastated by a pandemic. Racial inequalities discovered through social protests. The regions collapsed in the wake of extreme natural disasters. However, science has often stepped up to meet these challenges.

We started the year without knowing almost anything about the new coronavirus. Huge questions remain, but thanks in part to the extraordinary efforts to develop vaccines that seem effective, we are entering 2021 with flashes of hope.

Hope is also emerging from a heartbreaking estimate with racial inequalities, sparked by the police killings of unarmed black men and women in the United States. Through #BlackInSTEM and similar social movements, scientists are using their voice to illuminate the lack of diversity in their fields and drive change.

It’s harder to find positive angles with the record 2020 fires, hurricanes and extreme Arctic heat. However, science has also played a role here, helping us to see the connections between our actions and our changing world.

In this year-end issue, Science News also feels the need to bring some joy and highlight the thrill of discovery, whether it’s finding the edge of the Milky Way or the fossil of the oldest known modern bird, deliciously christened “Wonderchicken”. . – Macon Morehouse, news director

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