Nature’s 10: Ten people who helped shape the science stories of 2022
December 15, 2022
The 2022 edition of Nature’s 10 — Nature’s annual list of ten people who were part of big stories in science — is published this week. “In a year full of crises and stunning discoveries, this year’s Nature’s 10 list features an astronomer who helped open a window into the distant reaches of the Universe, researchers who had pivotal roles in confronting the COVID-19 pandemic and the mpox outbreak, and a surgeon who pushed the limits on organ transplantation,” says Rich Monastersky, chief features editor at Nature.
Key names in this year’s 10 have emerged from developments around climate change and other global crises. United Nations secretary-general António Guterres has served as the globe’s conscience, advocating for nations to confront crises such as the invasion of Ukraine and climate change. Saleemul Huq, director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development in Dhaka, Bangladesh, helped win commitments from wealthy nations to pay for losses and damages from climate change during international negotiations last month. Svitlana Krakovska, head of Ukraine’s delegation to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has forcefully represented her country on the international stage and linked Russia’s ongoing invasion to humanity’s dependence on fossil fuels.
Nature also selected people for their crucial work in global public-health issues. During the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, genomics researcher Yunlong Cao at Peking University has helped track the evolution of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and predicted some of the mutations that are fuelling the rise of new variants. Lisa McCorkell, a researcher who has long COVID, has helped raise awareness and research funding for the condition as a founding member of the Patient-Led Research Collaborative. Dimie Ogoina, an infectious-disease physician at Niger Delta University in Amassoma, Nigeria, provided key information for combating the mpox outbreak, thanks to his work on the disease in Nigeria.
Extraordinary scientific achievements and significant policy developments have also provided some notable names. Surgeon Muhammad Mohiuddin at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore made history by leading the team that transplanted the first genetically modified pig heart into a human. Astronomer Jane Rigby at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, played a pivotal part in getting the James Webb Space Telescope into space and working, providing vast new capabilities for studying the Universe. Alondra Nelson took the helm as interim director of the US Office of Science and Technology Policy and helped President Joe Biden’s administration tp develop key pieces of its science agenda, including its scientific-integrity policy and new guidance on open science. Diana Greene Foster, an abortion researcher and demographer at the University of California, San Francisco, provided crucial data about the expected impact of the decision by the US Supreme Court to overturn the nation’s legal ruling about access to abortion.
“The stories of the people featured in Nature’s 10,” says Monastersky, “provide unique glimpses into some of the biggest events in science during this extraordinary year.”
Geoscience: Water on the Moon stored in beads of impact glassNature Geoscience
Health: Positive effects of regular physical exercise for cognition might be negligibleNature Human Behaviour
Environment: Microplastic consumption may alter seabird gut microbiomesNature Ecology & Evolution
Zoology: Numerical abilities may be hardwired in newly-hatched zebrafishCommunications Biology
Ecology: Australian reef species decline following decade of warmingNature
Astronomy: Explaining the acceleration of the interstellar object ‘OumuamuaNature