The Most Important Science Headlines of 2022

The Most Important Science Headlines of 2022

Scientific discoveries and technological innovations play a crucial role in addressing many of the challenges and crises we face every year.

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

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

At a glance: The most important scientific headlines of 2022

Below we dive a little deeper into some of the most interesting headlines and provide links should you wish to explore these developments further.

January 2022

The James Webb Space Telescope reaches its destination

What happened: A new space telescope promises exciting discoveries and beautiful images of the last frontier. This telescope builds on the legacy of its predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope, launched over 30 years ago.

Why It Matters: The James Webb Space Telescope is our latest state-of-the-art “window” into space. With better access to the infrared spectrum, new images, measurements and observations of space are becoming available.

» To learn more, read this article from The Planetary Society or watch this video from The Wall Street Journal.

April 2022

Complete: The human genome

What happened: Scientists finish sequencing the human genome.

Why It Matters: A complete human genome allows researchers to better understand the genetic basis of human traits and diseases. New therapies and treatments are likely to emerge from this development.

» To learn more, watch this video from Two Minute Papers or read this article from NIH

May 2022

Monkey pox breaks out

What happened: A larger number of cases of monkeypox virus were reported in non-endemic countries.

Why It Matters: In the shadow of a global pandemic, researchers are keeping a closer eye on how disease spreads. The sudden surge in multinational cases of monkeypox raises questions about disease development and prevention.

» To learn more, read this New York Times article.

June 2022

A perfectly preserved mammoth

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

Why It Matters: The mammoth, dubbed nun 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 advance our knowledge of biodiversity and how life changes over time.

» To learn more, read this article from Smithsonian Magazine

July 2022

The rise of AI art

What Happened: Access to new computer programs like DALL-E and Midjourney gives members of the general public the ability to create images from text prompts.

Why It Matters: Widespread access to generative AI tools fuels inspiration — and controversy. Concerns about artists’ rights and copyright infringement are growing as these programs potentially threaten to interfere with creative work.

» To learn more, read this article from MyModernMet or watch this video from Cleo Abram.

Aug 2022

Dead organs get a second chance

What happened: Researchers develop a perfusion system that can revive organs after cell death. With a special mix of blood and nutrients, a dead pig’s organs can be preserved after death – and in some cases even promote cell repair.

Why It Matters: This discovery could potentially lead to a longer shelf life and supply of organs for transplantation.

» To learn more, read this Scientific American article or this New York Times article

Sep 2022

DART delivers a cosmic nudge

What happened: NASA crashes a spacecraft into an asteroid just to see how much it would move. Dimorphos, a small moon orbiting a larger asteroid called Didymos 11 million kilometers from Earth, is hit by the DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) spacecraft. NASA estimates that up to 22 million pounds (10 million kg) were ejected after the impact.

Why It Matters: Earth is constantly at risk of being hit by stray asteroids. Developing reliable methods for deflecting near-Earth objects could save us from suffering the same fate as the dinosaurs.

» To learn more, watch this video from Real Engineering or read this article from

November 2022

Falling sperm count

What happened: A scientific study suggests that human sperm counts are declining — by as much as 62% over the past 50 years.

Why It Matters: A lower sperm count makes it more difficult to conceive naturally. Concerns about declining male health around the world also arise because sperm count is an indicator of overall health. Researchers are looking for external stressors that may influence this trend, such as diet, the environment, or other agents.

» For more information, see this Guardian article.

December 2022

Find ancient DNA

What happened: Two million year old DNA is found in Greenland.

Why It Matters: DNA is a record of biodiversity. Aside from a barren arctic landscape once teeming with life, ancient DNA provides clues to our progression to modern life and how biodiversity evolves over time.

» To learn more, read this National Geographic article

December 2022

merge energy

What Happened: The US Department of Energy reports that for the first time in the development of nuclear fusion there has been a net energy gain.

Why It Matters: Fusion is often regarded 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.

» To learn more, see our merger infographic or read this BBC article

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, a few disciplines are likely to continue to dominate the headlines:

Advancement in space continues with projects like the James Webb Space Telescope and SETI COSMIC’s hunt for life beyond Earth. Climate action may become more challenging as recovery and prevention from extreme weather events continue into the new year using generative AI tools like DALL -e and ChatGPT opened for public use in 2022, sparking widespread interest in the potential of artificial intelligence. Even in the lingering shadow of COVID-19, new therapeutics should push medicine into new areas

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

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