BBC Future

2012: People of the year

  • Neil Armstrong
    Former US astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first human to set foot on the moon, died at the age of 82 in August following heart surgery. (Copyright: AP/Nasa)
  • Peter Higgs
    In 1964 the physicist proposed the existence of a particle, now known as the Higgs boson; it took until 2012 for scientists to prove he might be right. (Copyright: Getty Images)
  • Marissa Mayer
    The US business figure left Google to become president and CEO of troubled internet giant Yahoo! in July; she was Yahoo!’s third CEO in a year. (Copyright: Getty Images)
  • Felix Baumgartner
    Austrian Felix Baumgartner leaped from a balloon at 39km (24 miles) in October to set records for the highest parachute jump and fastest free-fall. (Copyright: AP/Red Bull Stratos)
  • James Cameron
    Film-maker James Cameron became the first person to make a solo submarine dive to the deepest known place on the Earth's sea floor, Challenger Deep. (Copyright: AFP/Getty Images)
  • Stephen Hawking
    The famous physicist, 70 this year, must ponder how to spend the $3m (£1.8m) money from winning the Special Fundamental Physics Prize for his life’s work. (Copyright: Getty Images)
  • Liu Yang
    In July, China’s fourth space mission broke new ground – carrying Liu Yang, the country’s first female astronaut. (Copyright: AFP/Getty Images)
  • Mark Zuckerberg
    He is said to be $19bn (£11.8bn) richer after Facebook went public; but the share price has since tumbled, losing nearly a third of its value since May. (Copyright: AP/Nasdaq)
  • Italian seismologists
    Six Italian seismologists and a government official were jailed for failing to communicate the risk of the 2009 L’Aquila quake, which killed 308 people. (Copyright: Getty Images)
  • Sir Patrick Moore
    An amateur astronomer turned expert and an eccentric star of British TV for 55 years, "The Sky at Night" host passed away in December at the age of 89. (Copyright: Keystone/Getty)
A collection of images of some of science and technology's biggest names over the past 12 months – and those who left us in 2012.

More amazing image galleries of the year:

A year in space

The year in technology

A year of discovery

The year in weather

The year in wildlife

Weird and wonderful

Future visions


New frontiers

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