Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Top 10 Science Stories of 2014

By Australian Science Media Centre

A recap of the top science stories in 2014, from Ebola's spread and a Facebook experiment that wasn't "liked" to the discovery of Richard III's remains and the world's largest dinosaur.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Ebola went viral

Fear gripped the world as the Ebola virus spread across West Africa in the biggest outbreak of the deadly disease since its discovery in 1976. The World Health Organization reported the outbreak in March and by August it had declared an international public health emergency. Since then, the number of reported cases has climbed above 17,000 and more than 6,000 have died, mainly in West Africa. Around 20 people have been treated for the disease in countries outside Africa, but it has yet to reach Australian shores – two suspected cases turned out to be false alarms.

European scientists landed a probe on a comet

In November, European space scientists landed the fridge-sized Philae probe on a speeding comet. The incredible scientific feat involved a decade-long 500 million km trip through space aboard the Rosetta spacecraft to rendezvous with a lump of space rock travelling at 135,000 km/h. Unfortunately, a bumpy landing meant the team lost contact with Philae soon afterwards, but not before the plucky lander had sent back a raft of scientific data, including evidence of carbon compounds - the basis of all life on Earth - on the comet’s surface.

The rest of the world squared up to climate change

2014 may go down in history as the year the world started to accept the need for serious carbon emission cuts to prevent...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.