2014 in science

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In November 2014, the Philae lander launched by the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft performed the first successful landing on a comet (Philae‍ '​s target, Comet 67P, pictured).

A number of significant scientific events occurred in 2014, including the first robotic landing on a comet and the first complete stem-cell-assisted recovery from paraplegia. The year also saw a significant expansion in the worldwide use and sophistication of technologies such as unmanned aerial vehicles and wearable electronics.

The United Nations declared 2014 the International Year of Family Farming and Crystallography.[1]

Events, discoveries and inventions[edit]

January[edit]

1 January 2014: New computer models show that climate change is more sensitive to the effects of cloud formation than previously thought.
  • 1 January – A study published in Nature shows that the role of cloud formation in climate change has been underestimated. As a result, global temperatures could increase by 4 °C by 2100 and possibly 8 °C by 2200.[2][3]
  • 2 January
    • Researchers have shown in precise detail how a molecular defect is responsible for myotonic dystrophy type 2, then designed a potential drug candidate to reverse the disease.[4]
    • The asteroid 2014 AA impacts the Earth a few hours after it was first sighted. This was the second time an asteroid was observed before it impacted with Earth (the first being 2008 TC3).
  • 6 January – A new way to destroy metastasizing cancer cells traveling through the bloodstream has been discovered by researchers at Cornell University.[5]
  • 7 January – NASA releases the deepest image ever taken of a galaxy cluster not long after the Big Bang. The image includes Abell 2744, a galaxy cluster in the Sculptor constellation, and was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.[6]
  • 8 January
    • Using the Sloan Digital Telescope, astronomers have measured the distance to galaxies six billion light-years away – about halfway back to the Big Bang – to an accuracy of just 1 percent. This could aid in the understanding of dark energy, which is thought to be driving the expansion of the universe.[7]
    • A detailed survey of lion populations has revealed that in West Africa, their numbers have collapsed with less than 250 adults remaining.[8]
  • 13 January
    • New analysis of a Tiktaalik roseae fossil, dating back 375 million years, has revealed a key link in the evolution of hind limbs that challenges existing theories on how they first developed.[9]
    • Chemists have engineered a plastic artificial cell containing organelles capable of producing the various steps in a chemical reaction.[10]
  • 14 January
  • 16 January
"Mystery" rock? found by the Opportunity rover on the planet Mars – comparison of images: Sol 3528 and Sol 3540 (23 January 2014)[18][19](b/w) (solution).
  • 17 January – NASA reports that a Mars rock, named "Pinnacle Island", that was not in an Opportunity rover image taken on Sol 3528, "mysteriously" appeared 13 days later in a similar image taken on Sol 3540.[18][19] – UPDATE (14 February 2014): "Mystery" seems to have been solved – the location where the rock was dislodged by the rover has been found. (image)
  • 20 January – The ESA's Rosetta spacecraft "wakes up" from hibernation mode to monitor comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko for the next 16 months as the comet travels into, and then out of, the inner solar system. The spacecraft is expected to deploy the Philae lander on the comet's surface in November 2014.[20][21][22][23]
  • 21 January
    • Globally, 2013 was tied with 2003 as the fourth warmest year on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).[24]
    • One quarter of the world's cartilaginous fish, namely sharks and rays, face extinction within the next few decades, according to latest research.[25][26]
    • A new device created by the University of California enables real-time measurements of drug metabolism and concentration in the bloodstream, potentially improving the way doses are administered.[27]
    • Extreme air pollution in Asia and China in particular is having a clear impact on weather and climate patterns, according to a study of aerosols and meteorology over the past 30 years.[28]
  • 22 January
  • 23 January – A new microscopy technique can eliminate distortion from nano-scale images.[34]
  • 24 January – NASA reports that current studies on the planet Mars by the Curiosity and Opportunity rovers will now be searching for evidence of ancient life, including a biosphere based on autotrophic, chemotrophic and/or chemolithoautotrophic microorganisms, as well as ancient water, including fluvio-lacustrine environments (plains related to ancient rivers or lakes) that may have been habitable.[35][36][37][38] The search for evidence of habitability, taphonomy (related to fossils), and organic carbon on the planet Mars is now a primary NASA objective.[35]
  • 26 January – New research indicates that most of the Grand Canyon is much younger than previously thought, having formed as recently as 5 or 6 million years ago, compared to 70 million years as previously estimated.[39]
  • 27 January – Genetic analysis of a European male from 7,000 years ago has revealed he had dark skin, dark hair and blue eyes – suggesting that lighter skin colour evolved much later than was previously assumed.[40]
  • 28 January – A new study shows that living near a fracking site may increase the risk of some birth defects by as much as 30 percent.[41] As many as 15 million Americans may live within one mile of a drilling well.[42]
  • 29 January
    • The axolotl may have gone extinct in the wild. None were found in a recent survey of its only remaining natural habitat, Lake Xochimilco.[43]
    • Japanese researchers have reported that they developed a way of turning adult mice cells into stem cells by dipping them in acid. If true, this could pave the way for routine use of stem cells in regenerative medicine with a technique that is cheaper, faster and more efficient than before.[44][45] However, other investigators could not reproduce the effect, and so this "discovery" remains controversial.[46]
  • 31 January
    • A new way of electrochemically converting CO2 – a greenhouse gas – into carbon monoxide has been developed at the University of Delaware.[47]
    • The world's first monkeys with genes modified by CRISPR/Cas9, a new form of DNA engineering, have been created in a Chinese laboratory.[48]
    • Despite warnings from scientists about the ecological impact, Australia's government has approved plans to dump three million cubic metres of sediment near the Great Barrier Reef, as part of the world's largest coal port.[49]

February[edit]

First image by the Curiosity rover of the Earth and the Moon in the night sky of Mars (31 January 2014).[50]
New NASA database[74] tracks Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) which may comprise more than 20% of the carbon in the universe and may be starting materials for the formation of life.[75][76][77]
Disintegration of asteroid P/2013 R3 observed by the Hubble Space Telescope (6 March 2014).[98]
  • 27 February

March[edit]

Evidence of gravitational waves in the infant universe may have been uncovered by the microscopic examination of the focal plane of the BICEP2 radio telescope.[113]
  • 13 March – Researchers in Siberia state that they have access to good quality DNA that offers a "high chance" of cloning the woolly mammoth.[114]
  • 17 March
  • 19 March – A new record efficiency of 17 percent for thin-film solar is achieved.[124]
  • 20 March – A new method to obtain human-induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) from a single drop of finger-pricked blood is achieved.[125]
  • 23 March – Scientists demonstrate the distribution of three entangled photons at three different locations, several hundreds of metres apart. This could pave the way to multi-party quantum communication.[126]
  • 24 March
    • Researchers create a biodegradeable battery that could be used for medical implants inside the body.[127]
    • Rates of blindness and partial sight have plummeted in the developed world over the last 20 years, according to new research.[128]
  • 25 March – Paleontologists assemble giant turtle bone from fossil discoveries made 160 years apart. Atlantochelys mortoni, found in Cretaceous sediments dating back 75 million years, was possibly the largest turtle that ever lived.[129]
  • 26 March
  • 27 March
Evidence of an underground ocean of liquid water on Enceladus, moon of planet Saturn, reported (3 April 2014; artist image).[136][137]

April[edit]

  • 1 April
    • Eating seven or more portions (560 g) of fruit and vegetables a day reduces your risk of death at any point in time by 42 percent compared to eating less than one portion, reports a new study by University College London.[142][143]
    • RIKEN concludes that a recent study claiming to having produced stem cells via STAP techniques was partially falsified.[144]
  • 3 April – NASA reports that evidence for a large underground ocean of liquid water on Enceladus, moon of planet Saturn, has been found by the Cassini. According to the scientists, evidence of an underground ocean suggests that Enceladus is one of the most likely places in the solar system to "host microbial life".[136][137] (artist image)
  • 4 April – By manipulating the appropriate signaling, researchers have turned embryonic stem cells into a fish embryo, essentially controlling embryonic development. This breakthrough is a major step toward being able to grow whole organs from stem cells.[145]
  • 6 April – Samsung has developed a new method of growing large area, single crystal wafer scale graphene, a major development that will accelerate the commercialization of this material.[146]
  • 7 April
  • 8 April – A battery that can charge in under 30 seconds is demonstrated at a technology conference in Tel Aviv.[150]
  • 9 April – Scientists reconstruct a gigantic asteroid impact that occurred 3.26 billion years ago near the Barberton Greenstone Belt. The impactor was up to 58 km (36 miles) wide, leaving a hole almost 480 km (300 miles) across – two and a half times larger in diameter than the Chicxulub crater which killed off the dinosaurs.[151]
  • 10 April
Discovery of Kepler-186f - an Earth-sized exoplanet in the habitable zone of its host star (artist concept; 17 April 2014).[155][156]
Antibiotic resistance is now a major global threat, WHO reports. (30 April 2014).
  • 28 April
    • Stanford bioengineers have developed faster, more energy-efficient microchips based on the human brain – 9,000 times faster and using significantly less power than a typical PC.[180]
    • Levels of atmospheric methane – a powerful greenhouse gas – had been stable for a decade, but recently began rising again. This can be explained by emissions from northern wetlands and thawing permafrost, according to a major study.[181]
  • 29 April – An annular solar eclipse occurs.
  • 30 April

May[edit]

  • 1 May – Cancer researchers report that e-cigarettes "get so hot that they, too, can produce a handful of the carcinogens found in cigarettes and at similar levels".[185]
  • 5 May - The World Health Organization (WHO) announces that the spread of polio is a world health emergency - outbreaks of the disease in Asia, Africa and the Middle East are considered "extraordinary".[186][187]
  • 6 May – The third National Climate Assessment is released by the US government.[188]
  • 7 May
    • The first realistic "virtual universe" is created, simulating 13 billion years of cosmic evolution in a cube with 350 million light year long sides and unprecedented resolution.[189][190]
    • Researchers announce that they successfully introduced two artificial nucleotides, Unnatural Base Pairs (UBRs), into bacterial DNA, and by including the individual artificial nucleotides in the culture media, were able to passage the bacteria 24 times; they did not create mRNA or proteins able to use the artificial nucleotides. The artificial nucleotides featured two fused aromatic rings which formed a complex mimicking the natural (dG–dC) base pair.[191][192][193]
    • For the first time, researchers sequence the genome of the spider.[194]
    • Global scientific output doubles every nine years, according to a new analysis going back to the year 1650.[195]
  • 8 May – Scientists publish a comprehensive study of Comet ISON and its disintegration, reported to have occurred on 2 December 2013, suggesting that the comet fully disintegrated hours before perihelion.[196]
  • 9 May
    • The maximum theoretical limit of energy needed to control the magnetisation of a single atom is demonstrated, a finding that could improve nanotechnology devices and quantum computers.[197]
    • After eight years of development, a new hi-tech bionic arm becomes the first of its kind to gain FDA approval for mass production.[198]
  • 13 May – New research shows unlimited heat potential in graphene.[199]
Jupiter - Great Red Spot is decreasing in size (May 15, 2014).[200]

June[edit]

Hubble Ultra-Deep Field image (full range of UV to NIR light) includes galaxies existing shortly after the Big Bang (June 2014).[218]
The Curiosity rover completed its first Martian year (687 Earth days) on the planet Mars (24 June 2014).[227]
A summary of achievements of the Cassini spacecraft after a decade orbiting the planet Saturn.[238]

July[edit]

  • 3 July
  • 4 July – Japanese scientists say they have found a way to slow down the ageing process in flowers by up to a half, meaning bouquets could remain fresh for much longer.[256][257]
  • 7 July
  • 9 July – The New York Times reports a reboot plan to rescue the International Cometary Explorer (or ICE or ISEE-3) spacecraft, the first spacecraft to visit a comet but removed from service by NASA in 1997, failed. The cause, currently under investigation, was originally believed to be a lack of nitrogen pressurant in the fuel tanks: this has now been proven not to be the case.[261] The team is continuing to work the thruster issue before the craft reaches a point where the remaining fuel will not be sufficient to meaningfully alter its course. An alternative plan in the use of the spacecraft is to "collect scientific data and send it back to Earth."[262]
  • 10 July
    • NASA reports that gullies on the surface of the planet Mars are mostly formed by the seasonal freezing of carbon dioxide, and not by that of liquid water as considered earlier.[263]
    • Two stars – ULAS J0744+25 and ULAS J0015+01 – have been found orbiting the Milky Way at distances of 775,000 and 900,000 light-years from Earth, respectively. This makes them the most distant Milky Way stars ever detected, extending the boundaries of our home galaxy.[264]
Driving Distance Records - for Out-Of-This-World "Space Rovers" (NASA;28 July 2014).[265][266]
  • 11 July – The largest ever study of its kind has found significant differences between organic food and conventionally grown crops. The former has almost 70 percent more antioxidants – equivalent to eating between 1-2 extra portions of fruit and vegetables a day – and significantly lower levels of toxic heavy metals.[267]
  • 14 July
  • 17 July – A new report shows how improvements in agricultural efficiency could feed an extra three billion people.[269][270]
  • 20 July – The anaphase-promoting complex – one of the most important and complicated proteins involved in cell division – has been mapped in 3D at a resolution of less than a nanometre. Researchers claim this finding could transform the understanding of cancer and reveal new binding sites for future cancer drugs.[271][272]
  • 21 July
    • For the first time, researchers have demonstrated proof-of-concept that the HIV virus can be eliminated from the DNA of human cell cultures.[273]
    • Globally, June 2014 was the hottest June since records began in 1880, according to latest data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This follows the warmest May on record the previous month.[274] Experts predict that 2014 will be an El Niño year.[275]
  • 22 July – Self-cooling solar cells have been developed by Stanford researchers, using tiny pyramid structures made of silica glass.[276]
  • 23 July
Mars 2020 Rover - Payload (artist's concept; 31 July 2014).[281][282]

August[edit]

6 August 2014: The Rosetta probe arrives at comet 67P.
Neanderthal reconstruction exhibit at the Neanderthal Museum.
  • 20 August
  • 21 August
    • Researchers have designed a computer program that can accurately recognize users’ emotional states as much as 87% of the time.[321]
    • Children’s social skills may be declining as they have less time for face-to-face interaction due to their increased use of digital media, according to a UCLA psychology study.[322]
    • A new automated process that uses a flash of light to detect fluorescence lifetimes can improve the sorting and recycling of plastics.[323][324]
  • 24 August – A whole functioning organ – a thymus – has been engineered to grow inside an animal for the first time.[325]
  • 25 August – Scientists announce five possible landing sites on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko by the Philae lander associated with the Rosetta spacecraft that rendezvoused with the comet on 6 August 2014.[326]
  • 28 August
    • NASA reports the observation of a dust cloud believed to have formed as a result of asteroids colliding near the star NGC 2547-ID8, a system 1,200 light years away. This sighting will offer a rare opportunity to observe the processes involved in rocky planet formation.[327]
    • NASA completes a review of the Space Launch System. The rocket will have its first test launch "no later than November 2018" with a possibility of manned flights to Mars in the 2030s.[328]
  • 30 August – A new drug known as LCZ696 can reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular disease by 20% compared to previous treatments. It is claimed to be among the biggest advances in treating this condition in over 10 years.[329]
  • 31 August
    • Wine only protects against cardiovascular disease in people who exercise, a study finds.[330]
    • A study of 131,000 people has found that drinking tea reduces non-cardiovascular mortality by 24 percent.[331]

September[edit]

  • 1 September
    • An office enriched with plants makes staff happier and boosts productivity by 15 per cent, according to a study by the University of Queensland.[332]
    • A Sports car that runs on saltwater using the nanoFLOWCELL® system to power four electric motors, that has a range of 600 km, has been approved for testing on European roads.[333]
  • 2 September – The current rate of species extinctions is 1,000 times faster than the pre-human era, according to a study in the journal Conservation Biology.[334]
  • 3 September
  • 4 September
    • A new study finds there is 99.999% certainty that anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are driving global warming.[340][341]
    • NASA reports receiving the first science data from instruments aboard the Rosetta orbiter studying the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The data suggests the comet is unusually dark, hydrogen and oxygen were found in the coma and the surface did not contain any large water-ice patches. Large water-ice patches were expected by scientists since the comet is too far away from the sun's warmth to turn its water to vapor.[342]
    • Oxygen-producing life forms were present on Earth 60 million years earlier than previously thought, according to geologists from Trinity College Dublin.[343]
    • The coffee genome is published, with more than 25,000 genes identified. This reveals that coffee plants makes caffeine using a different set of genes from those found in tea, cacao and other such plants.[344][345]
  • 5 September
  • 7 September – NASA reports that a small near-Earth asteroid, named 2014 RC, will make a close approach to Earth of 0.000267 AU (39,900 km; 24,800 mi) (0.1 lunar distances) around 18:01 UTC on 7 September 2014.[348][349][350]
  • 8 September
    • NASA reports finding evidence of plate tectonics on Europa, a satellite of the planet Jupiter - the first sign of such geological activity on another world other than Earth.[351]
    • Biologists have identified a gene – AMPK – that can extend the life span of fruit flies by 30%. Furthermore, this affects the entire body when activated "remotely" in key organ systems.[352]
  • 9 September
    • Greenhouse gas emissions are rising at their fastest rate since 1984, according to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).[353]
    • Taking three slow, short walks of five minutes each can reverse the harmful effects of prolonged sitting for three hours.[354]
    • Astronomers have discovered the first evidence of water ice clouds on an object outside of our own Solar System.[355]
    • Engineers at Stanford University have created ant-sized radios-on-a-chip, powered by incoming electromagnetic waves, that could be used for the Internet of Things.[356]
  • 10 September – The rate of Amazon deforestation increased by 29% in 2013, with 5,891 km2 of forest cleared, according to figures released by the Brazilian government.[357]
  • 11 September
  • 12 September
    • A robot with dexterous arms capable of loading a dishwasher has been unveiled at the British Science Festival.[363]
    • Researchers have achieved a breakthrough in producing hydrogen fuel from water. The new technique, which stores energy from the sun and wind, is 30 times faster than the leading PEME process.[364]
  • 15 September
    • ESA announces choosing "Site J" on the "head" of the comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko as the landing site of the Philae probe attached to the Rosetta spacecraft presently orbiting the comet.[365] The planned landing date is 11 November 2014.[366]
    • When FOXP2 – a human gene responsible for speech and language – is spliced into mice, it allows them to learn more quickly and perform better in a variety of tests, according to a new study.[367]
  • 16 September – NASA awards contracts to Boeing and SpaceX to carry out manned missions to the International Space Station from 2017 onwards, ending U.S. reliance on Russia for space transportation services.[368][369][370]
  • 17 September
    • A study of 100 billion animals fed GM and regular crops shows no effect of GM crops on animal health.[371]
    • The first blood test to diagnose major depression in adults has been developed.[372]
  • 18 September
    • Globally, August 2014 was the hottest August on record, according to data released by NOAA. This follows the hottest May and June also this year.[373][374]
    • Man-made CO2 continues to track the high end of emission scenarios, eroding the chances to keep global warming below 2 °C, according to the Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research (CICERO).[375]
  • 19 September – Stanford researchers have developed a "decoy" protein that disrupts metastasis, the process that makes cancer cells spread to other sites in the body.[376]
  • 21 September – The MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution) space probe begins orbiting the planet Mars (10:24 pm/et/usa, 21 September 2014).[377][378]
India's first Mars probe - the Mars Orbiter Mission, Mangalyaan.

October[edit]

Moon - ancient rift valleys found around Oceanus Procellarum (GRAIL; 1 October 2014).
Kuiper belt object - possible target of New Horizons spacecraft (artist's concept).[420]
  • 12 October
    • The CDC confirms that a health care worker in Texas was found to be positive for the Ebola virus, the first known case of the disease to be contracted in the United States.[421]
    • Researchers, for the first time, find a way of reproducing Alzheimer's cells in a Petri dish.[422][423]
  • 13 October
    • A new battery has been developed capable of being recharged up to 70 per cent in only two minutes. The battery also has a longer lifespan of over 20 years.[424]
    • Samsung engineers have developed a way of transmitting wi-fi data five times faster than was previously possible.[425]
  • 14 October
    • Plants absorb 16% more CO2 than previously thought, according to research published in the journal PNAS.[426]
    • Globally, September 2014 was the hottest September on record,[427] according to NASA data.[428] This follows the hottest May, June and August, also this year.
  • 15 October
  • 16 October – Astronomers have detected what appears to be a signature of 'axions', which are predicted to be dark matter particle candidates. If confirmed, this would be the first direct detection and identification of the elusive substance.[432]
Comet Siding Spring passed near Mars on 19 October 2014 (Hubble; 11 March 2014).
  • 17 October – Scientists at Bristol University have used quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics simulations to improve the understanding of antibiotic resistance, which may enable the design of better drugs in the future.[433]
  • 19 October – NASA reports that all Mars orbiters—including Mars Odyssey Orbiter,[434] Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter[435] and MAVEN[436]—as well as, ESA's orbiter, Mars Express,[437] and ISRO's satellite, the Mars Orbiter Mission,[438] are healthy after the Comet Siding Spring flyby of planet Mars.[439]
  • 20 October
    • Physicists have built a reversible tractor beam that can move objects 0.2mm in diameter a distance of up to 20 centimetres. This is 100 times further than was possible in previous experiments.[440]
    • By boosting a protein called NT3, scientists have restored lost hearing in mice.[441]
  • 21 October – Darek Fidyka, a paralysed Polish man, becomes the first in the world to walk again following a pioneering therapy which involved transplanting cells from his nose into his severed spinal cord.[442]
  • 22 October
    • A new method of solar cell production enables silicon to be used that is 1,000 times less pure and requires only one-third of the energy to manufacture compared to traditional methods. While the energy efficiency is currently too low (3.6%) for commercial use, this new process could be refined in the future, potentially slashing the cost of solar energy.[443]
    • A new drug, OTS964, can eradicate aggressive human lung cancers transplanted into mice, with few side effects.[444]
    • The discovery of the seventeenth experimentally established form of ice, ice XVI, is accepted for publication in Nature.[445]
  • 23 October – A partial solar eclipse occurs across most of North America.
  • 24 October
    • Using stem cells from just 25 milliliters of blood, researchers have grown new blood vessels in just seven days, compared to a month for the same process using bone marrow. These blood vessels were implanted in patients to connect the gastrointestinal tract to the liver.[446]
    • Scientists from Harvard Medical School report a new method of using toxic stem cells to attack brain tumors, without killing normal cells or themselves. The procedure could be ready for human clinical trials within five years.[447][448]
    • NASA reports finding methane in polar clouds in the atmosphere of Titan, moon of the planet Saturn.[449][450]
  • 27 October
    • The UK government has unveiled plans for a £97m ($156m) supercomputer to study weather and climate. Using 13 times more processing power than previous systems, it will perform 16,000 trillion calculations per second.[451][452]
    • Researchers at the Eindhoven University of Technology have achieved 255 Terabits/s over a new type of fibre allowing 21 times more bandwidth than currently available in communication networks.[453]
    • An international group of scientists has announced the most significant breakthrough in a decade toward developing DNA-based electrical circuits.[454]
  • 28 October
  • 29 October
    • Miniature human stomachs have been grown from stem cells, potentially offering a way to study ulcers and repair stomach damage in patients.[460]
    • Hewlett-Packard (HP) has unveiled a 3D printer that it claims will be 10 times faster than current models.[461][462]
    • A method for improving thrust generated by supersonic laser-propelled rockets has been described in The Optical Society's (OSA) journal Applied Optics.[463]
  • 30 October – Researchers have demonstrated for the first time the in vitro growth of a piece of spinal cord in three dimensions from mouse embryonic stem cells.[464]
  • 31 October
    • The fastest ever integrated circuit is announced by DARPA, achieving one terahertz (1012 Hz), or a trillion cycles per second. This is 150 billion cycles faster than the existing world record of 850 gigahertz set in 2012.[465]
    • Arachnophobia is cured by removing part of a man's brain.[466]
    • During a test flight, Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo experiences an in-flight anomaly followed by an explosion and crash in the Mojave desert, killing one pilot and injuring another.[467][468][469][470]

November[edit]

5 November 2014: ALMA image of HL Tauri.[471][472]
  • 2 November
  • 5 November
    • The ALMA telescope reveals a protoplanetary disk in never-before-seen detail. A series of concentric rings are visible in the image, showing the likely orbits of young planets in the process of being formed.[475]
    • A way to stop Ras proteins moving from the centre of a cell to the membrane, a fault common to one-third of cancers, is reported at the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Cancer Conference in Liverpool.[476]
    • A study by the U.S. Geological Survey predicts the likely habitat ranges of birds in the year 2075 based on climate, land use and land cover changes.[477]
    • Basic wound healing has been advanced with a synthetic platelet that accumulates at sites of injury, clots and stops bleeding three times faster. The synthetic platelets have realistic size, disc-shape, flexibility, and the same surface proteins as real platelets.[478][479]
  • 6 November – Half of all stars may be found in the space between galaxies, according to a new study.[480]
  • 7 November
  • 10 November – President Obama recommends the FCC reclassify broadband Internet service as a telecommunications service in order to preserve net neutrality.[484][485]
  • 11 November – Australian researchers have uncovered how the massive DNA molecules that appear in some tumours are formed like Frankenstein’s monster, stitched together from other parts of the genome. This solves a decades-old mystery and explains how these tumours ensure their own survival.[486]
12 November 2014: The Philae probe from the Rosetta spacecraft lands successfully on the surface of Comet 67P.
  • 12 November
  • 13 November – Global warming will cause lightning strikes to increase 50 percent by 2100, according to a study by the University of California - Berkeley.[491]
  • 14 November – The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) reports that October 2014 was by far the hottest October on record. This follows the hottest March–May, June, August and September, also this year.[492][493]
  • 17 November
    • A new AI software program developed by researchers at Google and Stanford University can recognise objects in photos and videos at near-human levels of understanding.[494][495]
    • The strongest evidence yet that being gay is genetic has been uncovered in a detailed genetic analysis.[496]
    • The Black seadevil Anglerfish is filmed in its natural habitat for the first time, using a remotely operated vehicle at a depth of 580m (1,900 ft).[497][498]
  • 18 November – The Philae lander is reported to have detected organic molecules on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.[489][499]
  • 24 November
    • The first detailed, high-resolution 3-D maps of Antarctic sea ice are developed using an underwater robot.[500]
    • Having recently been on the verge of extinction, Snake River sockeye salmon populations have recovered. Their numbers are now high enough for the species to eventually sustain itself in the wild again, it is reported.[501][502]
  • 26 November
    • Graphene has been found to allow positively charged hydrogen atoms or protons to pass through it, despite being impermeable to all other gases, including hydrogen itself. This could lead to major improvements in clean energy technology.[503][504][505]
    • An experimental vaccine to prevent Ebola has shown promising results in a Phase 1 clinical trial.[506][507]
    • Researchers at Queen Mary, University of London, report a major breakthrough in treating advanced bladder cancer.[508][509]
    • A new study finds that DNA can survive a flight through space and re-entry into Earth's atmosphere and still pass on genetic information. These results indicate that life and organic molecules could potentially spread between planetary bodies through meteor impacts.[510]

December[edit]

  • 1 December
    • HIV is evolving into a less deadly and less infectious form as it spends more time infecting people, according to a major scientific study.[511]
    • The first fossil of a carnivorous plant – an early ancestor of Roridula dating back 35 to 47 million years ago – has been reported.[512]
    • Astronomers, at the Planck 2014 meeting in Ferrara, Italy, report that the universe is 13.8 billion years old and is composed of 4.9 percent atomic matter, 26.6 percent dark matter and 68.5 percent dark energy.[513]
    • For the first time, 3D printing has been used to create functioning electronic circuitry made of semiconductors and other materials.[514]
    • The world's first artificial enzymes have been created using synthetic biology.[515]
  • 2 December
    • DNA analysis confirms that a skeleton unearthed from a UK parking lot is the former king, Richard III, who died in 1485. This is the oldest DNA identification case of a known individual.[516][517]
    • New research, using ultrasound, has developed a 3D haptic shape that can be seen and felt in mid-air.[518]
    • A new solar cell efficiency record of 46% has been achieved by a French-German collaboration.[519]
  • 3 December
    • A decade-long study of 5,000 women has provided further evidence linking a Mediterranean diet to increased longevity.[520][521]
    • The world’s fastest receive-only 2-D camera has been demonstrated, capturing up to 100 billion frames per second. It is hoped this new system will improve the understanding of very fast biological interactions and chemical processes.[522]
    • Japan launches its Hayabusa 2 asteroid sample return mission.[523]
    • Using new data from Kepler, an astrobiologist has attempted to update the Drake equation. It is estimated that a biotic planet may be expected within 10-100 light years from Earth, while the nearest intelligent life is probably a few thousand light years away.[524][525]
  • 4 December – Zig-zag patterns on a shell in Indonesia are believed to be 430,000 years old, making them the earliest known engravings by a human ancestor.[526]
  • 5 December
  • 8 December – Scientists have made progress towards developing an "obesity pill", by using stem cells to turn white, or "bad," fat cells into brown, or "good," fat cells. Two compounds have already been shown to achieve this in human cells.[530]
  • 10 December
    • Scientists report that the composition of water vapor from comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, as determined by the Rosetta spacecraft, is substantially different from that found on Earth. That is, the ratio of deuterium to hydrogen in the water from the comet was determined to be three times that found for terrestrial water. This makes it very unlikely that water found on Earth came from comets such as comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko according to the scientists.[531][532][533]
    • The U.S. Navy introduces a new laser weapon designed to protect ships without using ammunition.[534]
    • A new "high-entropy" metal alloy has been developed with a higher strength-to-weight ratio than any other existing metal material.[535]
Methane measurements in the atmosphere of Mars by the Curiosity rover.
  • 11 December – A weak, atypical photon emission in X-rays coming from space may be physical evidence of a dark matter particle, it is reported.[536][537]
  • 15 December
    • Satellite data reveals that the most dense stores of carbon in Amazonia are not above ground in trees but below ground in peatlands.[538]
    • One of the six remaining northern white rhinoceros has died of old age at the San Diego Zoo in California, leaving only five in the entire world.[539]
    • People who feel younger than their real age are more likely to live longer, according to research by University College London. Positive outlooks on life and aging, a sense of empowerment and will to live may explain the difference in life expectancy.[540][541]
  • 16 December
    • NASA reports detecting an unusual increase, then decrease, in the amounts of methane in the atmosphere of the planet Mars; in addition, organic chemicals are detected in powder drilled from a rock by the Curiosity rover. Also, based on deuterium to hydrogen ratio studies, much of the water at Gale Crater on Mars was found to have been lost during ancient times, before the lakebed in the crater was formed; afterwards, large amounts of water continued to be lost.[542][543][544]
    • Stanford University announces "The One Hundred Year Study on Artificial Intelligence" (AI100).[545][546][547]
    • By blocking the activity of an enzyme known as Granzyme b, researchers have slowed aging in the skin of mice.[548]
  • 17 December – A Colorado man becomes the first bilateral shoulder-level amputee to wear and simultaneously control two modular prosthetic limbs using his thoughts alone.[549]
  • 18 December
  • 19 December – A new species of fish is discovered in the Mariana Trench at a depth of 8,145 m (26,722 ft); beating the previous record for the world's deepest fish by nearly 500 m (1,600 ft).[553]
  • 23 December – A new treatment for arthritis involving the use of implanted bio-electronics is announced. More than half of patients using the device saw a dramatic reduction in symptoms. It is believed the treatment could be widely used within 10 years.[554]
  • 24 December
    • Scientists have discovered rods and cones preserved for 300 million years in a fossilised fish eye – the first time that fossilised photoreceptors from a vertebrate eye have ever been seen.[555][556]
    • The results of a study into police body cameras show that the technology can significantly reduce both excessive use-of-force by officers and complaints against officers by the public.[557]
  • 26 December – Moscow State University has announced the creation of a DNA bank to store genetic samples from every living thing on Earth. The facility, funded by the country's largest ever scientific grant, will be opened in 2018.[558]
  • 31 December – For the first time, a frog species – Limnonectes larvaepartus – is discovered giving live birth to tadpoles, as opposed to frogspawn or froglets.[559]

Deaths[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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