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Silver Lining Science

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     From forest fires in California to coronavirus outbreaks to widespread racial injustice, the past twelve months have been a different and mind bogglingly tough year. The whole world seems to have been shaken by the effects of these events, and it is unequivocally a year which will go down in history. Although it’s clear that all of us want to forget the entirety of 2020, and leave it all behind to move towards an optimistic 2021, we should also remember that out of the frustrating year of 2020, several important scientific advancements took place all over the world which demonstrate that, amidst the chaos, there were some places in which we, as humans, were still able to progress.  While the road ahead is still daunting, we should look back on these moments as points of inspiration for turning toward a better world.

     It’s hard to remember that at this point last year scientists were excited about discovering  volcanic residue on Venus as a possible nutritional diet for microorganisms or uncovering pieces of stardust which have become the oldest things ever found on Earth. Even though the coronavirus outbreak caused mass shutdowns across the nation, science continued to trudge onward through it all. 
     Although most of the discoveries during the period of time between April and June of last year were centered around finding out more about the coronavirus, several other studies and advancements in science were made. Biologists found evidence for life on Mars through a study on seafloor bacteria in April 2020, while researchers in the University of Pittsburgh were creating possible Covid vaccines. As nano scientists were engineering nanobots to fight bacteria, others were making biodegradable masks which could filter out the coronavirus. Amidst everything, science and discovery abounded, and even more so in the latter half of 2020. Unearthing of mummy sarcophagi, the discovery of the largest mammoth bones, and SpaceX flights were some of the many events that took place in the months between July and December of 2020. 
     We may look back on the past year with deep regret knowing that the year could have been much better than it was, wishing that we could have hung out with our friends more, or sensing that we could  have been less anxious or worried if 2020 had not been so horrible. But if we place ourselves among the many things which were accomplished throughout the past year, we can see that we were alive amidst much positive change in our world. 
     We, therefore, should strive just as the many scientists out there did last year to find hope through our endeavors — even through the small ways that we can reach out to our neighbors or community — because those things are just as important as any scientific discovery and put our world on a better path, too.

 

Written by Joseph Thalackan
Illustration by Kira Palmer
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