Top Science Stories of 2011

Dr. Michio Kaku on the Fukushima plant crisis, NASA's space program and Watson.
4:36 | 12/20/11

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Transcript for Top Science Stories of 2011
-- take a look at 2011 the year in science. The past twelve months insulin discoveries and disasters many of which we've never seen the likes of -- -- war. Joining us with his list of the top science story from the year -- by Ichiro -- Famed physicist and ABC news contributor doctor -- thank you so much for joining us. Glad to be on the show so what are your picks for the year was -- -- crazy weather so it wasn't just imagination what was behind it. That's right -- wacky weather -- we had massive droughts in Texas and we had huge flooding in the midwest. There are two theories as to why it was so wacky. The first theory is -- playing bad luck. The jet stream has been erratic more moisture in the Gulf of Mexico and the combination of the two is dynamite -- hot air meets cold there. Bad luck but there's a second -- The second -- says that perhaps is global warming kicking in. If -- global warming is not a uniform rise in temperature -- swings. In temperature so 11 hand. We have massive flooding in the midwest and we have droughts and forest fires in Texas -- the same time. And so this is consistent with global warming now it's not the smoking gun he can't say -- Its global warming or is simply bad lack however the indicators are that -- it's in the direction of global warming. We may see more wild weather next year -- the course it was. Wild climactic events an earthquake and tsunami which led to the Fukushima nuclear disaster clearly one of the biggest stories of this year as well. That's right in -- it was the story of that decade you think of the devastation. And we now realize that gambling there's much worse than we ever previously thought. Unit one. The reactor that was in worse shape had 100%. -- qualification and we've never seen this before. 100. Tons of uranium that's twelve -- Paul liquefied. Went right through the vessel melted right into the earth and almost set off -- China syndrome. A China syndrome was when the court -- all the way to China. Now that's not gonna happen but -- steam explosion might have ripped the whole reactor -- -- and huge chunks of northern Japan. May have been contaminated for centuries. That's how close we came to a disaster beyond comprehension. And cleanup will take perhaps thirty to have fifty years. This also the last year doctor -- -- of the US space shuttle program really the end of an -- for NASA. That's right and there were -- -- -- -- eyes in Cape Canaveral looking at the space shuttle -- because hey look. We're in a Great Recession. President Barack Obama has canceled the space shuttle. Canceled the replacement for the space shuttle canceled the project go to the moon and to Mars. And so the manned space program is only a shadow of it was in the past however. We hope that private enterprise may kick in and perhaps give -- booster rockets which we'll take us to the space station but it's ironic isn't it. We spent billions of dollars competing with the Russians and -- hitch hiking. On the Russian space boosters to get up into outer space -- -- Why you -- irony at a lot of US astronauts having -- Russian these days let's not. Forget Watson a computer. That -- some. Are people -- jeopardy. That's right some peoples that all of that skipper of the human race are robots they're gonna -- -- -- -- Filipinos status and make has danced behind -- hardest. However not so fast you see what's -- -- some senses and adding machine. That is in some sense it's so stupid that you can't go to Watson and congratulated. For a winning against humans. Because Watson has no self awareness it doesn't know what it's doing it's simply -- a tape recorder. I'm million times faster than us so -- still road more humans for many many decades to come. So I don't think the robots are gonna take over any time soon. Last lots and can't -- yeah -- desert hot air. We know you have more science stories which made the list well that'll be on Thinks his assistant ABC news contributor and Ichiro cock through. Thanks so much for sharing your list of the top science stories of 2011. My pleasure.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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