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✦ ✦ Unlabelled ✦ Your favourite moments of 2011

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22 Dec 2011
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We've saved the best till last - we've got a $300 COSMOS netbook to give away! The netbook has 2 MB memory, 1.8 GHz speed and 250 GB hard drive. It's got WiFi embedded, an integrated camera, microphone and memory card slot. To win the netboook, email your answer to the question below.

Question: What was your favourite science news story for 2011 and why?

Email your answers to to win! Competition closes at 5:30pm on 8 January 2012. Full terms and conditions here.


Almost half of you (46%) were excited about the announcement by CERN regarding the Higgs boson, while 41% of you were hoping for something more, perhaps a confirmation that the hypothetical particle does or doesn't exist. Just 14% of you thought the results were over-hyped. View the full results and add your comments.

NEW POLL: What do you think was the biggest science news story of 2011? Have your say.


black hole

Science in review: 10 biggest stories for 2011

From overachieving neutrinos to Earth-like planets and test tube sperm: here are the top 10 science stories of 2011, as chosen by the editors at COSMOS. Plus, we reveal which stories were particularly popular in the office.
Earth-sized planets

Kepler finds first Earth-sized extrasolar planets

Two Earth-sized planets orbiting a Sun-like star have been discovered using observations from the planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft.
hottest  chillies

What makes the hottest chillies?

The key to growing the hottest chillies may lie in the water content of the soil, new research suggests.
contagious yawning

Contagious yawning stronger amongst family

Not all yawns are created equal: you're more likely to 'catch' a yawn from a family member than a stranger, researchers report.
new planetary system

Kepler discovers new system of hot planets

The discovery of a compact system of scorched planets orbiting a former red giant has important implications in theories about the evolution of stars.
seed plants

Genome 'tree of life' is largest yet for seed plants

The largest genome-based 'tree of life' ever constructed for seed plants has revealed the evolutionary relationships between 150 species.

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Your favourite moments of 2011

~ Becky Crew

The great thing about being involved in science communication is that as we reflect on every year past, there's never a time when we can't legitimately say, "this has been a big year for science." In fact, it's a pretty pointless thing to say, because for as long as humans are alive and curious, every year will be a big year for science.

Looking over the most popular COSMOS news stories for the past 12 months, there's a common theme that runs through almost all of them - they captured your imagination. Whether its otherworldly trees, strange fossils, stranger LHC results or the prospect of burrowing deeper into the Earth than ever before, each of these discoveries had the "What if?" factor. And the odd one out is surely there because Greenpeace deprived you of your "What if?" moment before you had the chance to entertain it.

Here are the top 10 most popular news stories for 2011 as determined by COSMOS Online readers. We will be taking a break over Christmas and will be back in early January. We hope each of you has a safe and very lovely holiday.


South Australia in Focus
Don’t miss our special COSMOS guide exploring the science, innovation and engineering developments in South Australia, a state brimming with capacity in R&D, training and careers. Rich in mineral wealth, SA has a strong focus on engineering, IT, food science, environment, mining, defence and astronomy. This 7-page special looks at career success stories, key technology areas, green initiatives, hot topics and more, mapping the best the festival state has to offer. Get it here.


drugs in plants


The days of factories filled with vats fermenting medicines may be numbered. Becky McCall talks to the new breed of scientists designing plants and fungi that naturally manufacture cleaner, cheaper and safer drugs.
bryan gaensler

Interview with Bryan Gaensler

Having just returned from the launch of CAASTRO (the Centre of Excellence for All-Sky Astrophysics) in Sydney, Bryan Gaensler spoke to reviews editor Kate Arneman about what inspired his first popular science book.


Bioluminescent dinoflagellate

Why do we love science?

In her final week at COSMOS, intern Jude looks to a French polymath and glowing toilets to work out why it is we love science.

Christmas cheer, lights and communication

Christmas trees are a staple at this time of year, but the optical fibre lights bring up questions for COSMOS intern Jenna.

Your favourite moments of 2011

We reveal the top 10 most popular news stories for 2011, with everything from alien trees to walking cacti in the mix.


Dave White

Secret life of the seabed

Geotechnical engineer Dave White investigates the often surprising behaviour of seabed sediments.

To kill a cancer cell

To kill cells that rapidly divide, like those in cancerous tumours, James Matthews had to change the way he thought about biology.


Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work and Learn

Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work and Learn

We go on a journey through life, starting from birth and continuing through school and the workforce; examining how the focus of our attention has shifted over the years.

Curtin University's Centre for Marine Science and Technology
Research Fellow Miles Parsons says penguins can be noisy on land, but what happens underwater? Dr Parsons' project investigates how penguins communicate under water and how environmental noise may affect their sound production and reception. "The information will assist with better management of the penguins' ocean environment as well as educating the scientific and general community regarding underwater communication in penguins," he says. More info here.


REVERSE AGEING As we face a global ageing epidemic and the prospect of brain deterioration, a revolution in genetics is transforming the way we'll live in the future. Are you ready for a smarter, longer lifetime? It may be closer than you think. Plus, we look at the shaky foundations for putting the science of predicting earthquakes on trial, meet the world’s most astonishing predator, discover a clock so precise it would lose less than a second in the entire history of the universe and travel to South Australia to find out about the cutting-edge science and technology transforming this resource-rich state. Order your copy now! Read the digital edition immediately, or have a print edition sent to you.

Collaborate l Innovate l
Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) Association of Australia will put collaboration under the microscope. What works? What doesn't? You'll hear from the experts and find out about how better collaboration can help you ideas have a greater impact. Venue: National Wine Centre Adelaide, May 15-17 2012. To register go to


Were you excited by CERN's latest Higgs boson announcement?
Yes, this is a significant breakthrough
No, it was over-hyped
Sort of, I was hoping for something more definitive

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