Scorecard for 2014

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Science  19 Dec 2014:
Vol. 346, Issue 6216, pp. 1449
DOI: 10.1126/science.346.6216.1449


Every year, the Breakthrough staff picks scientific developments likely to make news in the coming months. As usual, the forecasts for 2014 enjoyed mixed success. We predicted that IceCube, a massive neutrino detector deep in the ice at the South Pole, would release search results—with luck, ones that would pinpoint the mysterious sources of high-energy neutrinos from beyond our solar system. IceCube did release results in November, but the neutrinos' origins remain unknown. We predicted that tests for disease-causing glitches in patients' DNA would become routine. That's happening for rare diseases, but not yet for common cancers. We predicted that cosmologists studying the cosmic microwave background would spot signs of inflation just after the big bang. Unfortunately, a claimed sighting imploded dramatically enough to become a runner-up for our breakdown of the year. Finally, we said animal rights campaigns would continue their efforts to grant chimpanzees in research labs "legal personhood." Lawsuits to free the chimps suffered setbacks this year but are still under way.