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It's hard to say which science and technology stories of 2011 were the most important or interesting, but Scientific American has taken a crack at identifying which stories made the biggest splash. "Some of our top choices could very well have an immediate effect on our lives. The impact of others may not be felt for years. Some discoveries may vanish altogether," Scientific American says. "We'll just have to see how things turn out in the years ahead. But no matter what, 2011 held big surprises in science and technology."

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A new Trump executive order about "free inquiry" on college campuses may threaten $35 billion-worth of federal research funding.

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