Scientists are often the unsung heroes in our society but Nature’s top 10 people of 2018 celebrate the achievements of the scientists that had the most impact this year.
Yuan Cao who has been given the exciting title of Graphene Wrangler, like some kind of cowboy, has made it onto the list. This Chinese PhD student has achieved far more in his 22 years than most people do in a lifetime.
By the age of 18, he already had his undergraduate degree from the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei and was travelling to the US to begin his PhD.
He’s been named one of the top 10 people of this year for completely changing the assumptions held by physicists about the way carbon works. Universities across the world are desperately trying to get Cao to work with them, but he’s unsure where his career will take him next.
“On magic-angle graphene, we still have a lot of things to do,” he told Nature.
Imagine being known as an asteroid hunter.
For Makoto Yoshikawa, an astronomer at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, that dream is actually a reality. Yoshikawa, and his team, successfully landed three rovers onto an asteroid that is orbiting the sun. The rovers have provided the first close-up look of an asteroid.
In 2019, Yoshikawa will begin another mission to collect samples from the asteroid that will give us a greater understanding of the early stages on the Solar System’s evolution.
He said, “Asteroids are very small objects in the Universe — but very important for the future life of humans.”
Barbara Rae-Venter, DNA Detective extraordinaire, helped to identify a serial killer like it was ripped straight from a crime drama on TV.
She proved that you can use genealogy to find out the name of a serial killer. Rae-Venter was called in to help solve the case of the infamous Original Night Stalker in California.
By finding the killers third or fourth cousin, she was then able to triangulate on a family tree and unravel the mystery behind one of the most legendary modern true crime stories.
Since proving that you could solve crimes by looking using this approach it is now being more widely adopted.
In looking into her own history, she found an ancestor who had worked on the Jack the Ripper case.
Written by Rebecca Henrys