Our 10 favourite science facts from 2017

by Zoé de York

From rubber dandelions and toxic crustaceans to anti-vaxxers and the world’s hottest geothermal well, Horizon covered a wide variety of stories in 2017. Here are our 10 favourite science facts that we learned along the way.

1. One sugar-cube-sized chunk of a neutron star would weigh a billion tonnes, or as much as Mount Everest.

Credit – NSF/LIGO/Sonoma State University/Aurore Simonnet
Credit – NSF/LIGO/Sonoma State University/Aurore Simonnet

 2. Anti-vaccine groups can serve as early warning signs of disease epidemics.

Credit – Flickr/ Dave Haygarth
Credit – Flickr/ Dave Haygarth

 3. Europe’s next particle accelerator will be three times larger than CERN’s Large Hadron Collider and smash particles together with the power of about 10 million lightning strikes.

Credit – Dominguez, Daniel; Brice, Maximilien at CERN
Credit – Dominguez, Daniel; Brice, Maximilien at CERN

 4. Crustaceans living in the deepest parts of the world’s oceans contain toxic chemicals that were banned decades ago.

Credit - Pacific Ring of Fire 2004 Expedition. NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration; Dr Bob Embley, NOAA PMEL, Chief Scientist
Credit – Pacific Ring of Fire 2004 Expedition. NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration; Dr Bob Embley, NOAA PMEL, Chief Scientist

 5. Exposure to air pollution before a school test can negatively affect students’ performance.

Credit - Sanjeev Kugan on Unsplash
Credit – Sanjeev Kugan on Unsplash

 6. The average terrestrial wind speed has decreased by half a kilometre per hour every decade since the 1960s. 

Credit – Dawid Zawiła on Unsplash
Credit – Dawid Zawiła on Unsplash

 7. It is possible to harvest rubber from dandelions, with one hectare producing around 200 kg of the material.

Credit – Max Pixel
Credit – Max Pixel

 8. Poplar leaf beetles can ‘taste’ food even after it has reached their gut and entered their blood.

Credit – ‘Chrysomela populi’ by Aiwok is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
Credit – ‘Chrysomela populi’ by Aiwok is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

 9. Engineers have drilled the world’s hottest geothermal well, nearly 5 km deep, in an active volcanic area.

Credit – Chris Baraniuk/ DEEPEGS
Credit – Chris Baraniuk/ DEEPEGS

 10. Gold nanoparticles are able to cross the protective membranes around cells.

Credit - NIST
Credit – NIST

Leave a Comment

Share This