Here we are at the end of another amazing year - it seems like just yesterday we were celebrating the start of 2017 and now it has come to an end. And though it was not the greatest year for the world at large, it has been a very good year for the scientific community.

The year started off with some very preliminary results being announced. The theoretical physics community saw a few hints of evidence of a holographic Universe in experimental data - though that is still quite controversial - which could in the coming years lead to a major shift in our understanding of the laws of nature. Meanwhile the experimental community successfully built and tested the first magnets for the HL-LHC, which should in a few years time start setting new records for the highest energy and highest luminosity particle collisions. Once the entire machine is built and running, we can expect many new and unexpected results that will also change our understanding of the subatomic world.

Then in February the imaginations of star gazers everywhere were sparked by the announcement of the TRAPSIS-1 system of planets. Astronomers had discovered an entire solar system, some of the planets likely inhabitable, and only a few dozen lightyears away. These are exotic worlds that will be within travelling distance in the not too distant future. And we can only imagine what interesting new things exist on these distant worlds. 

Also provoking much debate and imagination were two results that came in August and December. In August astronomers detected fifteen odd gamma-ray bursts that appear to originate from another galaxy. These high energy bursts are not like those seen in natural phenomena, and at this point their origin is still a matter of debate. Then December saw excitement for a strange asteroid that had entered our solar system from interstellar space, and its odd shape and texture caused some to speculate that it may have been artificially created by an alien intelligence. Although further observations and analysis have disproven this hypothesis, it has still been an interesting probe into what exists in the galaxy outside of our local neighbourhood.

This has also been a very good year for the LIGO collaboration. After more than thirty years of work, last year the team announced the first detection of a gravitational wave, adding further proof to the theory of general relativity and allowing scientists the first direct data from extreme cosmic events such as black hole collisions. Last April saw a third event detected, followed later in the year by a fourth event, and in October they were awarded a well deserved Nobel Prize for their amazing work in gravitational wave research.

And while those were some of the biggest advances in science this year, they were not the only ones. From the LHC adding further constraints on a variety of exotic physics theories, to the Cassini probe ending an unexpectedly long mission by crashing itself into the surface of Saturn, all scales of nature have been probed and studied in 2017.

We can only dream of what amazing new results will be revealed in 2018! Happy New Year!