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PUBLIC RELEASE DATE: 15-Dec-2004

Science Web site names top ten science stories of 2004

Computers, wings, origami and a brewery top the list

View EurekAlert!'s Top 10 Stories of 2004

A lubricant to safeguard a hard drive, new fish-scaled, bird-like airplane wings and a robot that can make a crane out of origami paper — these were among the most popular science stories of 2004, as evidenced by traffic on EurekAlert!, www.eurekalert.org, a popular science Web site published by AAAS, the science society.

The top 10 science stories stood out from the more than 11,000 stories posted on EurekAlert! in 2004 by attracting an unusually high number of readers.

"Our best-selling stories reflect the public's interest in a broad range of science, health and technology research areas." said Project Director Cathy O'Malley, who heads EurekAlert! for AAAS. "As compared to last year's top ten list, however, the 2004 list suggests a shift in interest among our readers from health and medical stories to technology news." (The 2003 list is available here).

For example, the most heavily trafficked story on EurekAlert! this year, posted in August by the American Chemical Society, reported that a new lubricant, SHP, acts as both a solid and a liquid to protect and promote a healthy hard drive. The story, presented at the American Chemical Society's annual meeting by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, drew more than 58,000 readers via EurekAlert!.

The second most popular story this year reported results from a NASA and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) funded study on an efficient new wing design for airplanes. The story, posted in April by Penn State and receiving over 33,700 viewers, described the hybrid design, which uses fish-like scales and bird-shaped morphed wings.

The third most frequently visited story on EurekAlert! was posted in May by Carnegie Mellon University. The story, generating 25,519 visits, reports on graduate student Devin Balkcom's effort to create an origami-folding robot to better understand the mechanics of folding. "Once you build a robot that can duplicate human tasks, you can learn more about human skills that we often take for granted," said Balkcom.

Other stories on the EurekAlert! top 10 list were:

"For me, the top ten list shows that people are interested in the wide range of science and technology that affects the world around them." said O'Malley.

Breaking research news on EurekAlert! is posted in the form of press releases by some 500 organizations, including universities, research institutes, government agencies and publishers from around the globe. The site, which is free to the public, features dozens of new stories each day, as well as a searchable archive of 50,000+ news items.

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For more information about the top ten stories on EurekAlert!, visit http://www.eurekalert.org/topten2004, e-mail webmaster@eurekalert.org or call 202-326-6716.

For free access to EurekAlert!, visit www.eurekalert.org