Table of Contents January/February 2014


Discover's top 100 double issue is jam-packed with the best in science from the past year.

From space exploration to medicine, technology, paleontology and the environment, we've got every field covered, and our countdown puts these discoveries in context so you can understand the bigger picture.

Read about the latest in quantum computing, advancements in growing organs from stem cells, the discovery of Earth's biggest volcano and signs of life on Mars — just a few of the top science stories of 2013.

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A spectacular nail-biter of a landing was just the beginning. This was the year Mars’ rover Curiosity proved its worth by giving researchers unprecedented access to the Red Planet.


The Supreme Court’s decision in June that genes can’t be patented has far-reaching consequences for research and medicine — and for every one of us.


In May, the amount of CO2 in our atmosphere crossed this long-hyped threshold, setting off a storm of media coverage. But how significant is the milestone?


The unprecedented government surveillance that surfaced in the summer brought the perennial clash between technology and privacy to a new level.


Liver buds and brain organoids are among this year's life-saving advances in growing spare human parts.


More than three decades after it left our planet, Voyager 1 entered a realm where no Earthborn spacecraft has gone before. 


After centuries of flummoxing number crunchers, two mathematical puzzles about prime numbers were cracked this year.


New techniques and very old bones overcome the limits of genome sequencing for prehistoric horses, ancient cave bears, and even our own early ancestors.


For years, health professionals have been urging better nutrition and more exercise for children. Are we finally listening?


This multidimensional shape can simplify certain quantum equations — and possibly also revolutionize physics.



On the floor of the Pacific Ocean lies a giant that has been sleeping for 145 million years.


Antarctica's subglacial lakes, Vostok and Whillans, reveal what life might be like in icy worlds.


Researchers have demonstrated the first successful human-to-human brain interface.


Curing some of the 330,000 babies born annually with HIV is no longer out of the question.

Rapid weight loss after gastric bypass surgery may be driven by changes in the gut microbiome.

During its surprise appearance the fireball was brighter than the sun.


The species, dubbed Aurornis xui, is the most primitive bird known.


A new map of the universe's earliest moments shows its fiery start and suggests an icy ending.


In a world first, Japan extracted natural gas from frozen undersea deposits this year.


A new technique inspired by the immune systems of microorganisms could be a boon for gene therapy.


A pioneering planet-hunter shares her thoughts on Kepler, exoplanets, and the possibility of intelligent extraterrestrials.


This worrisome strain of influenza has the potential to reach pandemic proportions, but luckily it's not there yet. 


Cheaper semi-synthetic supplies of artemisinin, along with a new malaria vaccine, may help keep the disease in check. 


Thanks in part to fracking, the United States pulls ahead of Russia as the world's largest producer of fossil fuels.


The first successful quantum teleportation of data in a computer chip is demonstrated.


The diverse set of human ancestors may have in fact been one species, researchers say.


By making a mouse brain transparent, researchers are able to visualize its architecture.


Using cloning technology, scientists created an embryo of the extinct gastric-brooding frog.


The archaeological find highlights how different the history of the United States could have been.


Using a crystal and a rare earth element, researchers trapped laser light for an entire minute.

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