With the Mars Curiosity Rover mission by NASA and the discovery of the Higgs-Boson particle by CERN, it has certainly been a banner year in science. These two marquee projects came to the fore in big ways this year. They have opened doors to our universe that we could have only imagined a few short decades ago. For science itself, they have done wonders in promoting the subject to scores of curious citizens. For some youthful impressionables, these types of projects might be enough to inspire them to take up a career in the world of science.
Given the scope and importance of the Mars Curiosity Rover mission and the discovery of the Higgs-Boson, it is only fitting that they have both been nominated for TIME’s Person Of The Year, even though they aren’t people. Regardless of who gets the nod (if either of them succeed of course), the winner will be only the third non-human to be awarded the prize. The previous non-human winners were “The Computer” in 1982 and “The Endangered Earth” in 1988.
Being a lay person with an interest in scientific topics, the specifics of the science involved are beyond me, but the significance isn’t. Although announcements made in these types of projects tend to be slow and evolving, it seems clear that scientists in this century could make discoveries that result in quantum leaps forward in not only our understanding of the universe, but also practical applications that we can use to better ourselves and the environment. Aside from potential medical advancements, technological breakthroughs and Geoengineering techniques, we could also be finding ways to travel through space and explore beyond our planet faster than we may have thought possible before. The 21st Century will be an exciting time for our species!
TIME has had a fascinating history in picking its Person Of The Year. Some choices have been obvious, some outright controversial, and some unconventional. The Mars Curiosity Rover and the Higgs-Boson may be unconventional choices, but they are certainly worthy ones.
What Do You Think About These ‘Person Of The Year’ Choices?