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2011
2011's 10 Biggest Moments in Science
Image Gallery: 2011 in Pictures
Image Gallery: 2011 in Pictures

Our quest to understand continues. See more 2011 pictures.

Fototeca Storica Nazionale/Getty Images

Once again, it's time to close the book on science in 2011 and decide exactly how the year that was factors into humanity's attempt to understand how the cosmos works.

Imagine science as a lantern in a dark study full of bookshelves and curio cases. With each passing year, we manage to make the flame a bit brighter. Each time, we get a little better at cataloging the objects in the study, the relationships between them and the dimensions of the room itself. Of course, new puzzles emerge as well: strange shadows on the walls and misread titles on the spines of dusty tomes. Science never fully reveals the universe that envelops us, but it explains it a little better every year.

The scientists of 2011 didn't discover life on another planet. They didn't create a cure for death or craft a machine capable of human love. But they moved a little closer to each of these incredible realities. Here's how.

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