1998—The year in news

 作者:常甙     |      日期:2019-03-08 02:19:04
IT MAKES for an exciting year when years of waiting come to an end, a wonder drug opens up a new field of medicine and nature makes its awesome presence felt. Viagra restored the sex lives of thousands of men. It might also work for women. And with more drugs in the pipeline, this sexual revolution will run and run. In Hawaii, biologists helped end Dolly’s splendid isolation by cloning scores of mice. The critics who doubted whether the superstar sheep was for real have now been silenced. And now we’re contemplating the cloning of human spare parts for transplant surgery. NASA’s long wait was also rewarded, with the launch of the first two components of the International Space Station. What was conceived as an all-American dream is now a truly international endeavour, so naturally it’s running 10 years late and billions over budget. It is still the most ambitious construction project ever attempted—but it could be thwarted by launch failures and Russia’s economic woes. Concerns about the space programme were forgotten in March, however, when we were told that the world might end in 2028, devastated by a killer asteroid. The doomsters turned out to be wrong, but that doesn’t mean we’ve nothing to worry about. In a year of climatic chaos, the planet was battered by hurricanes, mudslides and floods. And as the world’s governments struggle to come to grips with global warming, climatologists’ predictions are becoming ever more catastrophic. If all that’s too worrying, it may be some comfort to learn that, on the cosmic scale at least, the future seems secure. By observing distant supernovae, a Californian team concluded that the Universe will expand for ever. Not to be outdone, particle physicists finally confirmed that at least some of the ghostly particles known as neutrinos have mass. And quantum physicists also passed a major milestone by making a rudimentary quantum computer. So before 1998 is consigned to the history books, let New Scientist remind you of the science and technology news that made the year,