Here we are at the start of a new year and the end of an old one, and what an amazing year it has been for the scientific community.

I suppose that, as I am a particle physicist by training, the top story of the year must be the discovery of the decade, the Higgs Boson which was finally found last July. I have already written a dozen reviews and summaries of this event and the theory behind it, so I won't write too much now, but I will say that this finishes off the Standard Model as predicted forty years ago. It explains the origins of mass and the symmetries of the weak nuclear forces, and has proven the value of the Large Hadron Collider that was so many years in the making.

On the quantum theory stage, physicists set a new record for quantum teleportation of 89 miles, and at the same time developed a two node quantum internet. Although still in its earliest development, when fully integrated into the global networks it would create a faster internet that is virtually hacker proof. Meanwhile scientists and engineers in Canada claimed to have built a working quantum computer (although some in the field have questioned if it is truly a quantum device, or just a very good traditional CPU). It has been known for many years now that a quantum computer would be capable of doing certain types of search processes and algorithms significantly faster than traditional computers, and in some cases perform calculations which were previously thought to be nearly impossible. If this new prototype proves to be a true quantum computer, it is a major step forward for all of the sciences.

Astronomers were also busy this year, with discoveries of a fifth moon of Pluto followed by the more recent discovery of a planet in another star system which appears to be made of diamond. And it wasn't just professional scientists having a great year either – in October a team of amateur astronomers sorting through observation data found a new planet located about 5000 light years from Earth.

This Fall also saw the Curiosity rover land on the planet Mars, carrying with it a Canadian designed and developed experiment to study Martian soil for signs of life. It dropped to the planet in a risky but successful landing, and has been transmitting back amazing pictures and data that will be studied for many years to come.

On the medical front, scientists also made some great advancements. A few months ago a team in Australia developed the first working bionic eye. Although not as powerful as a biological eye yet, it has been successful in allowing limited vision for blind patients. And at the same time, US scientists made advances in brain-computer interfaces that for the first time have allowed a paralyzed person to control a robotic arm with their mind. This advance gives hope that in the very near future, entire bionic limbs could be crafted for patients who have lost their own (or at least use of their own).

Meanwhile scientists in this hemisphere discovered new markers for cancer cells which allowed them to test an experimental method of targeting cancer cures to the specific patient, creating a customized treatment for each patient. Although it is still very experimental, it is a step forward in the battle against many forms of cancer.

And that is just the tip of the iceberg. A quick scan through any scientific journal archive will show thousands of new discoveries and new theories about the laws of nature and their applications. And 2013 is certain to bring even greater advances – it is truly a great time to be alive!