2023's Naughty and Nice: A Year in Science News

December 19, 2023
Willa Barnett

Just like good ol’ St. Nick, we here at Hello SciCom have been busy making a list and checking it twice. We're about to break down this year's top science news into extremely serious categories: 'naughty' or 'nice'—fingers crossed for more 'nice', though! After all, the Earth could really do with a little less coal…

A paper was published alleging that superconductivity was achieved at room temperature


On July 22nd, a paper was published by Sukbae Lee and Ji-Hoon Kim of South Korea’s Quantum Energy Research Centre claiming that they had created “The First Room-Temperature Ambient-Pressure Superconductor” using a material dubbed LK-99. The material was shown partially levitating, which the researchers attributed to the “Meissner Effect”, an indication of superconductivity. A huge leap forward for the world of physics, with major implications for energy storage, this discovery sent the Twitter (X) community ablaze.

…But the superconductivity study turned out to be false so…


A mere two weeks later, the claims made by Sukbae Lee and Ji-Hoon Kim were refuted by a number of follow up studies. It turns out that the partial levitation that was observed was likely due to imperfections in the material, like the presence of copper sulfide.

Darn, I really wanted my own quantum computer like, ASAP. 🙁 But hey! That’s the beauty of science isn’t it? Discovery, mistakes, studies, rebutting those studies, and eventually ending up on a naughty or nice list.

The James Webb Space Telescope made space cool again


The launching of the James Webb Space Telescope on Christmas Day in 2021 was a true gift to nerds everywhere. Since then, the images that the JWST has sent back have dazzled and delighted the world. This year in particular, we saw the brilliant image of the Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex where stars are born (and no, not Lady Gaga). The JWST has also spurred new excitement in the field of exoplanetary discovery, that of worlds orbiting other stars. Maybe we can finally find out where these guys came from!

For the record, Hello SciCom has always found space cool…

Earth broke records for heat this summer


Pull out those sunnies because it is getting H. O. T.

…But this indicates climate death so...


Not only was the record broken for the hottest recorded day on earth, that record was then broken the very next day. And then the next day. Turns out, breaking records ain’t always a good thing, as these come with extreme consequences for human health and our environment.

Generative A.I. exploded onto the tech scene



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Oppenheimer shows scientist tushy onscreen


Christopher Nolan’s biographical drama about the creation of the atomic bomb by J. Robert Oppenheimer had an amazingly successful theatrical run this summer. Perhaps fueled by the “Barbenheimer” effect, or perhaps by the brave display of Oppy’s bare bottom on screen—we may never know. #scienceissexy


So concludes Hello SciCom’s naughty or nice list of science news in 2023! We hope this incredibly rigorous overview of this year’s scientific stories has inspired you, or at least made you think of nuclear engineer ass.

Regardless, our team will be chugging on, striving to showcase the creativity, ingenuity, and yes humor to be found in science. Because, ultimately, science is a human pursuit and humans are fundamentally funny

If all these words are giving you a headache, watch the TikTok version of our article instead, you screenager: