2002 in science
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Astronomy and space exploration
- February 19 – NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey space probe begins to map the surface of Mars using its thermal emission imaging system.
- May 26 – The Mars Odyssey finds signs of huge water ice deposits on the planet Mars.
- June 4 – Quaoar is discovered.
- June 10 – Annular solar eclipse.
- December 4 – Total solar eclipse.
- 18 April – New suborder of insects, Mantophasmatidae, announced.
- Publication of Systema Porifera: a guide to the classification of sponges edited by John N. A. Hooper and Rob W. M. Van Soest.
- Hobo–Dyer projection commissioned.
Computer science and cybernetics
- January 7 – The iMac G4 is introduced by Apple, Inc., as the next generation iMac.
- March 14 – Prof. Kevin Warwick of the University of Reading in England has part of his nervous system experimentally linked to a computer. On June 10 he demonstrates the first direct electronic communication between the nervous systems of two humans.
- September 20 – Release of the Tor anonymity network is announced.
- January 17 – Eruption of Mount Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, displacing an estimated 400,000 people.
- August 6 – Polynomial-time primality test published.
- November 12 – Grigori Perelman posts the first of a series of eprints to the arXiv, in which he proves the century old Poincaré conjecture.
- May 14 – Red wine is claimed by Spanish researchers to protect against the common cold.
- November – Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic begins in Guangdong Province of China.
- December 19 – Clozapine is the first drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration for reducing the risk of suicidal behaviour.
- Morgellons is named.
Main article: 2002 in philosophy
- March 8 – Claims regarding bubble fusion, in which a table-top apparatus is reported as producing small-scale fusion in a liquid undergoing acoustic cavitation, are published.
- May – Experimental discovery of a new type of radioactivity: the 2-protons radioactivity. · 
- November 4 – A Tactical High Energy Laser prototype shoots down an incoming artillery shell.
- Malcolm C. Smith introduces the inerter in the study of the mechanical network in control theory.
- Fields Prize in Mathematics: Laurent Lafforgue and Vladimir Voevodsky
- Nobel Prizes
- John B. Fenn (Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, USA) and Koichi Tanaka (Shimadzu Corp., Kyoto, Japan) "for their development of soft desorption ionisation methods for mass spectrometric analyses of biological macromolecules"
- Kurt Wüthrich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zürich, Switzerland and The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, USA) "for his development of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy for determining the three-dimensional structure of biological macromolecules in solution"
- Raymond Davis Jr. (Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA) and Masatoshi Koshiba (International Center for Elementary Particle Physics, University of Tokyo, Japan) "for pioneering contributions to astrophysics, in particular for the detection of cosmic neutrinos"
- Riccardo Giacconi (Associated Universities Inc., Washington DC, USA) "for pioneering contributions to astrophysics, which have led to the discovery of cosmic X-ray sources"
- Turing Award: Ron Rivest, Adi Shamir, and Leonard Adleman
- Wollaston Medal for Geology: Rudolf Trumpy
- January 8 – Alexander Prokhorov (b. 1916), physicist.
- February 6 – Max Perutz (b. 1914), biologist.
- February 10 – Harold Furth (b. 1930), expert in plasma physics and nuclear fusion.
- March 3 – Roy Porter (b. 1946), medical historian.
- April 18 – Thor Heyerdahl (b. 1914), explorer, led the Kon-Tiki expedition.
- May 20 – Stephen Jay Gould (b. 1941), paleontologist/evolutionist.
- June 20 – Erwin Chargaff (b. 1905), biochemist.
- June 29 – Ole-Johan Dahl (b. 1931), computer scientist, invented concepts in object-oriented programming.
- June 30 – W. Maxwell Cowan (b. 1931), neuroanatomist.
- July 4 – Laurent Schwartz (b. 1915), mathematician.
- August 6 – Edsger Dijkstra (b. 1930), computer scientist.
- August 31 – George Porter (b. 1920), Nobel laureate in chemistry.
- September 6 – Orvan Hess (b. 1906), obstetrician.
- September 21 – Robert Lull Forward (b. 1932), science fiction author and physicist.
- October 18 – Nikolai Rukavishnikov (b. 1932), cosmonaut.
- November 2 – Charles Sheffield (b. 1935), science fiction author and physicist.
- Kluwer/Plenum (New York) ISBN 0-306-47260-0 (2 vols.)
- Berry, Lorraine (2003). "Soaking up the limelight". Nature 421 (6925): 791. doi:10.1038/421791a. Retrieved 2011-11-28.
- Pawlik, Joseph (2003-03-21). "Invertebrate Zoology: Sorting Sponges: a review". Science 299: 1846b. doi:10.1126/science.1082916. Retrieved 2011-11-28.
- Chambers, Susan (2003). "Systema Porifera". Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 13: 461–2. doi:10.1002/aqc.593. Retrieved 2011-11-28.
- "Cyborg study draws fire". BBC News. 2002-03-22. Retrieved 2010-10-07.
- Dingledine, Roger (2002-09-20). "pre-alpha: run an onion proxy now!". or-dev (Mailing list). Retrieved 2008-07-17.
- "Red wine 'protects from colds'". BBC News. 2002-05-14. Retrieved 2013-03-21.
- "Summary of probable SARS cases with onset of illness from 1 November 2002 to 31 July 2003". World Health Organization. 2004. Archived from the original on 24 June 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-24.
- Taleyarkhan, R. P.; West, C. D.; Cho, J. S.; Lahey, Jr., R. T.; Nigmatulin, R.; Block, R. C. (2002-03-08). "Evidence for Nuclear Emissions During Acoustic Cavitation". Science 295 (1868): 1868–73. Bibcode:2002Sci...295.1868T. doi:10.1126/science.1067589. ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 11884748. Retrieved 2012-03-15.
- Giovinazzo, J.; Blank, B.; Chartier, M.; Czajkowski, S.; Fleury, A.; Lopez Jimenez, M. J.; Pravikoff, M. S.; Thomas, J.-C.; de Oliveira Santos, F.; Lewitowicz, M.; Maslov, V.; Stanoiu, M.; Grzywacz, R.; Pfützner, M.; Borcea, C. and Brown, B. A. (2002-08-19). "Two-Proton Radioactivity of F45en". Physical Review Letters 89: 102501. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.89.102501. Retrieved 2014-03-07.
- Pfützner, M. et al. (2002-05-28). "First evidence for the two-proton decay of 45Fe". The European Physical Journal A 14: 279–285. doi:10.1140/epja/i2002-10033-9. Retrieved 2014-03-07.
- Smith, M. C. (2002). "Synthesis of mechanical networks: The inerter". IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control 47 (10): 1648. doi:10.1109/TAC.2002.803532.