The Breakthrough of the Year is an annual award for the most significant development in scientific research made by the AAAS journal ''
Science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and Taxonomy (general), organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions about the u ...
,'' an
academic journal An academic or scholarly journal is a periodical publication in which Scholarly method, scholarship relating to a particular list of academic disciplines, academic discipline is published. Academic journals serve as permanent and transparent forums ...
covering all branches of science. Originating in 1989 as the ''Molecule of the Year'', and inspired by ''Time'' Man of the Year, it was renamed the Breakthrough of the Year in 1996.

Molecule of the Year

* 1989
DNA polymerase A DNA polymerase is a member of a family of enzymes that catalyze the synthesis of DNA molecules from nucleoside triphosphates, the molecular precursors of DNA. These enzymes are essential for DNA replication and usually work in groups to create t ...

DNA polymerase
* 1990 the manufacture of
synthetic diamonds
synthetic diamonds
* 1991
buckminsterfullerene Buckminsterfullerene is a type of fullerene with the formula C60. It has a cage-like fused-ring structure (truncated icosahedron) that resembles a soccer ball, made of twenty hexagon In geometry Geometry (from the grc, γεωμετ ...

* 1992
nitric oxide Nitric oxide ( nitrogen oxide or nitrogen monoxide) is a colorless gas with the formula . It is one of the principal oxides of nitrogen. Nitric oxide is a free radical, i.e., it has an unpaired electron, which is sometimes denoted by a dot i ...
* 1993
* 1994
DNA repair DNA repair is a collection of processes by which a cell identifies and corrects damage to the DNA molecules that encode its genome In the fields of molecular biology and genetics Genetics is a branch of biology concerned with th ...

DNA repair

Breakthrough of the Year

* 1996: Understanding HIV * 1997: Dolly the sheep, the first mammal to be cloned from adult cells * 1998:
Accelerating universe Observations show that the expansion of the universe The universe ( la, universus) is all of space and time and their contents, including planets, stars, galaxies, and all other forms of matter and energy. The Big Bang theory is the p ...
* 1999: Prospective stem-cell therapies * 2000: Full genome sequencing * 2001: Nanocircuits or Molecular circuit * 2002: RNA interference * 2003: Dark energy * 2004: Spirit rover, ''Spirit'' rover landed on Mars * 2005: Evolution in action * 2006: Proof of the Poincaré conjecture * 2007: Human genetic variation * 2008: Cellular reprogramming * 2009: ''Ardipithecus ramidus'' * 2010: The first quantum machine *Insights of the Decade: **The dark genome **Precision cosmology **Ancient DNA **Water on Mars **Reprogramming cells **The microbiome **Exoplanets **Inflammation **Metamaterials **Climate change research * 2011: HIV treatment as prevention (HPTN 052) * 2012: Discovery of the Higgs boson * 2013: Cancer immunotherapy * 2014: Rosetta (spacecraft), ''Rosetta'' comet mission * 2015: CRISPR gene editing, CRISPR genome-editing method * 2016: First observation of gravitational waves * 2017: Neutron star merger (GW170817) * 2018: Single cell sequencing * 2019: A black hole Messier 87#Supermassive black hole M87*, made visible. * 2020: Vaccines against COVID-19, developed and tested at record speed

See also

Other Top 10 Breakthroughs of the Year: * ''Physics World'' (physics) * Wired (website) (sciences)


{{Portal bar, Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Physics, Science Science and technology awards American Association for the Advancement of Science Awards established in 1989 Awards established in 1996 Scientific research awards