So, the most extreme new stories in the field of science and technology in 2008 are:
Roundest and shortest: In July, an international team of craftsmen unveiled an unusual pair of balls - believed to be the roundest objects in the world. The silicon balls are designed to each contain a near-identical number of silicon atoms, and become a new way to define the kilogram.
Hottest and fastest planet: Scientists discovered a planet called WASP-12b, which is 1.5 times as massive as Jupiter, and is estimated to have a temperature of 2250 degree Celsius - about half as hot as the surface of the Sun - making it the hottest planet yet discovered, as well as the planet with the fastest orbit.
The earliest nuclear family: Archaeologists unearthed an adult couple and their two children, buried together 4600 years ago in Eulau, Germany. "The two kids have her mitochondrial DNA, and his Y chromosome - that's a nuclear family," said molecular anthropologist Brian Kemp of Washington State University.
Oldest and biggest organism: Estimates indicate that a spruce tree in Norway is 9,555 years old, thus becoming the oldest living organism in the world, smashing the record set in 2002 by The Old Man, an ancient bristlecone pine in the white mountains of California.
Biggest black hole in the Universe: With a mass of 18 billion Suns, a newly discovered black hole has been designated the title of the biggest black hole in the Universe. It is six times as massive as the previous record holder, according to Mauri Valtonen of the Tuorla Observatory in Finland.
Tiniest and dimmest black hole: Not to be outdone by the Europeans, NASA discovered its own extreme black hole in April. With a mass just 3.8 times that of the Sun, the black hole in a binary system called XTE J1650-500 is the tiniest and dimmest on record.
Dimmest 'bulbs' in the Milky Way: In December, US astronomers discovered the dimmest stars in the Milky Way. The "failed stars" each shine with a million times less power than the Sun, making them half as bright as the previous record holder.