Science is one of the most-respected journals reporting the results experiments and studies, and now its publishers are asking the public to help them select the greatest breakthrough of 2014.
The 19 scientific advances nominated for the recognition include breakthroughs in astronomy, the environment, medicine, biology, agriculture and more.
The Philae lander touching down on the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is one of the great scientific advances of the year selected by publishers of the magazine. Although the spacecraft only functioned for around 50 hours after separating from its Rosetta mother craft, it did manage to complete its first round of experiments before batteries expired. The first human mission to touch down on the surface of a comet led in early voting on Nov. 19.
CubeSats, a new class of small, inexpensive satellites, is another advance in space exploration nominated for the recognition.
"These pint-sized, low-cost satellites are taking advantage of increased access to space and advances in cheap, powerful sensors and electronics that allow them to do real science. In time, space science may be done by constellations of tiny, low-cost satellites, rather than a single, complex and pricey mission," Science publishers stated on a Web page announcing the contest.
Biologists have known for decades that all birds are descended from dinosaurs, but a new discovery made in 2014 suggests a greater number of dinosaurs sported feathers than previously believed. This breakthough provides paleontologists with a wealth of new information on the extinct species of animals.
Spinosaurus, a species of dinosaur best-known for the distinctive sail-like ridges running down its back, were found to be larger than believed -- around 50 feet in length -- as well as capable swimmers. These giant dinosaurs, which could have readily fought with the most vicous carnivores, likely ate fish.
Biologists discovered humans can smell up to a trillion different distinct scents, far more than the 10,000 once believed, making that discovery another nominee.
Running in second place in the contest was a finding that blood of young mice revives brains and muscles of elderly rats. This could hold great promise for human health.
Stem cells have been grown that that could cure diabetes, as they secrete insulin missing from bodies of those who suffer from the disorder. These cells would currently be rejected by human bodies, but are an important step in the quest to find a cure, and hold third place in early results.
A global pause of global warming was examined by researchers, leading to another nominee for the top science story of the year.
Readers are being asked to vote for the greatest scientific breakthrough of 2014. Visitors to the Web site can also nominate their own choices for the recognition, and the most-popular nominees will be named in the final list. Votes and nominations must be received by Dec. 1, then a final round of voting will held on the finalists. On Dec. 18, Science will announce the winner in its annual Breakthrough of the Year issue.