As 2013 winds down, the Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation (CSTMC) has compiled its annual list of this year’s ten most significant Science and Technology news stories.
In order to compile this final selection, the CSTMC’s team of curators first individually suggested what they believed were the most significant science and technology news stories relating to their various fields of expertise involving Canadians in 2013. Once all the suggestions were compiled, the merits of each of the suggestions were debated and put to a vote among curators to determine the final rankings.
What do you think of these stories? What are your preferred science stories of 2013? We want to know about them! Let us know on Facebook (www.facebook.com/SciTechMuseum) and Twitter (@SciTechMuseum).
Rail accidents at Lac-Mégantic and near Gainford Alberta highlight the rise of rail transport of oil products. Increased production has benefits for Canadians but those benefits come with risks. Oil can be a hazardous product and these accidents have focused our attention on both the critical role railways play in our economy and the constant need to assess and improve rail technology, equipment and monitoring.
BC researchers have developed a cyclotron technology for producing a key medical isotope independent of big reactors. A medical isotope is a very small quantity of radioactive substance used in the treatment of disease, which often results in earlier and more accurate diagnoses and ultimately, faster and more effective treatment. Nuclear medicine up to this point has been dependent on nuclear facilities for their supply. When sites like Chalk River experience problems and need to shut down, the supply of these medical isotopes come to an abrupt halt.
Saskatchewan Scientists Release the DNA Sequence of New Industrial Oilseed Crop – feedseed crop for the production of biodiesel and jet fuel.
Ann Makosinski, a Victoria teenager won the top prize in the Google's international science fair for a batteryless flashlight. The ‘Hollow Flashlight’ uses Peltier tiles, which can generate electricity when one side is heated and the other cooled. When held in one hand, the palm heats one side of the tiles and the other remains cool from the ambient air, enabling an electric current and a working batteryless flashlight.
In March 2013, Chris Hadfield became the first Canadian to command the International Space Station. Responsible for a crew of five, he helped run dozens of experiments analyzing the impact of low gravity on human biology. Throughout the mission, Chris Hadfield invited the world aboard the space station using Twitter and facebook to chronicle life on the ISS and shared dramatic photos of the earth.
BlackBerry, once a Canadian wireless technology superstar, fights for its life. In March Waterloo, ON-based Research In Motion launched the BlackBerry10 operating system, introduced a new touchscreen handset and announced that it was changing its name to BlackBerry Ltd. Due to disappointing sales and a quarterly loss of $965 million, however, the company announced in September that it was laying off thousands of workers.
The Canadian Forces’ first operational military satellite, Sapphire, was launched by an Indian rocket in late February. Sapphire will re-establish the Canadian contribution to surveillance in space and signals a change in practical use from research to operational work.
The Bombardier CSeries flew for the first time on 16 September. This fuel efficient and quiet jetliner (four times quieter than other aircraft in its class), Bombardier's largest aircraft to date, should enter service in late 2014.
Voyager 1 has left the Solar system and has become the first human-made object to enter interstellar space. Canadians Prof. Jack McConnell and Lyle Broadfoot worked on the ultraviolet spectrometer, which measures the atmospheric properties and radiation, for the Voyager 1 spacecraft.
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On February 8, Curiosity successfully drilled on Mars. The Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer used to analyze the samples was built by Canadians. The analysis of rock and soil samples will hopefully reveal how the material formed and if it has been altered or affected by wind, water, or ice.