Top Scientists of 2014

The Scientist commemorates prize-winning life scientists and remembers notable researchers who died this year.

Tracy Vence
Dec 23, 2014

Left to right: John O’Keefe; May-Britt Moser, Edvard MoserUCL, DAVID BISHOP; WIKIMEDIA, THE KAVLI INSTITUTE/NTNUThe Nobels

John O’Keefe, May-Britt Moser, and Edvard Moser won the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their work identifying the cellular components and networks behind the mammalian brain’s so-called inner GPS. “This is a fascinating area of research,” Colin Lever, a senior lecturer in the department of psychology at Durham University in the U.K., who earned a PhD and continued postdoctoral research in O’Keefe’s lab, told The Scientist in October. “What we’re discovering about the brain through spatial mapping is likely of greater consequence than just for understanding about space. . . . Indeed, it seems to support autobiographical memory in humans.”Left to right: Eric Betzig, Stefan Hell, William Moerner ILL. N. ELMEHED. © NOBEL MEDIA 2014; WIKIMEDIA COMMONS; WIKIMEDIA COMMONS, K. LOWDER

Eric Betzig, Stefan Hell, and William...

In memory

February 6: Alison Jolly, who discovered that females dominate social hierarchy in lemurs

March 1: Alejandro Zaffaroni, who launched companies that developed birth control pills, microarrays, and transdermal drug patches

May 4: Alan Friedman, who renovated and reinvigorated the New York Hall of Science and pioneered interactive hands-on exhibits

May: Jean-Claude Bradley, the chemist known as the father of the Open Notebook Science movement

May 12: Melvin Glimcher, inventor of the prosthetic “Boston Arm,” which moves in response to electrical signals from the wearer

June 24: Carlos Barbas III, renowned organic chemist

July 5: Peter Marler, best known for his groundbreaking work on bird song

July 17: Joep Lange, an infectious disease specialist who dedicated his career to HIV/AIDS research

August 3: Emmanuel Farber, who advanced fundamental understanding of chemical carcinogenesis

August 5: Yoshiki Sasai, prominent organogenesis researcher

August 6: J. Woodland Hastings, who first theorized about quorum sensing in the late 1960s

August 6: Stephen Heinemann, who along with his colleagues identified the genes encoding the major excitatory neurotransmitter receptors in the brain

August 11: Dame Julia Polak, who pioneered lung-tissue–engineering techniques

October 24: Allison Doupe, a neuroscientist known for her work exploring the neural mechanisms of learning

October 26: Katrina Edwards, whose research focused on discovering life beneath the ocean floor

November 17: Willy Burgdorfer, the medical entomologist who first found the bacterium that causes Lyme disease

December 15: Donald Metcalf, whose discoveries transformed cancer treatment

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Top Scientists of 2014

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