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Top 10 stories of 2012: ASU's year in review

December 27, 2012

Looking back at 2012, Sun Devils probably will remember our victory over the Arizona Wildcats in Tucson at the annual Territorial Cup game.

ASU scientists might recall our significant work experimenting with a new class of synthetic vaccines.

Our faculty might highlight theirs and their colleagues' noted achievements.

It is hard to find just 10 stories that define this calendar year – a year when we went to Mars and also to London to compete in the Olympics.

Ten stories is not nearly enough to even scratch the surface of the discoveries and milestones reported at ASU this year – everything from a new form of lava flow to the diverse array of life added to this year's new species list.

But because there are only so many hours in the day, and in an effort to make your life easier, here are the 10 stories of 2012 that we think our top-tier Research-1 university could not live without.

What was your favorite story of 2012? Let us know and we will tweet it from @asunews_insider.

ASU to lead first-ever national algae testbed

ASU's Algae Testbed Public-Private Partnership was selected as a national testing facility for algal research. “This algae national testbed will provide high quality data and a network of sites that will speed the pace of innovation,” said ASU's Gary Dirks.

Faculty, alumni have deep reach in Mars research mission

Curiosity rover's successful landing on Mars launched the most sustained human study of the planet most like Earth in our solar system. It was an event that was watched closely by millions of people in the United States and around the world. Several professors and researchers from ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration, as well as alumni, are involved in the mission.

$27.5M Walton investment to accelerate sustainability efforts at ASU

The Rob and Melani Walton Fund of the Walton Family Foundation provided $27.5 million to ASU's Global Institute of Sustainability to develop solutions to sustainability challenges, including energy, water, environment, climate, urbanization, social transformation and decision-making in local, national and global contexts and to educate future leaders in sustainability.

ASU ranks among world's top 100 universities

The Center for World-Class Universities at Shanghai Jiao Tong University released the 10th edition of its annual global university ranking, 2012 Academic Ranking of World Universities, and Arizona State University once again ranked among the top 100 universities in the world.

ASU, Intel help modernize higher ed in Vietnam

ASU and Intel Corp. renewed a joint commitment to help improve higher education and technological development in Vietnam. Working with the Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training, the partners reached an agreement to expand the Higher Engineering Education Alliance Program (HEEAP).

ASU, SRP partner on 1MW solar power plant

Salt River Project (SRP), Arizona State University and SunPower Corp. announced an agreement to build a 1-megawatt solar photovoltaic power plant at ASU’s Polytechnic campus in Mesa, Ariz. The ASU solar plant is the third commercial-scale solar facility in the Valley of the Sun to provide energy for SRP.

New science building to push boundaries of research, exploration

ASU’s newest science building – the Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building IV (ISTB 4), on the Tempe campus – is designed to advance research and discovery, and to encourage children to explore their futures as scientists and engineers.

Center produces largest flexible color organic light emitting display

ASU's Flexible Display Center announced in May that it successfully manufactured the world’s largest flexible color organic light emitting display prototype using advanced mixed oxide thin film transistors. Measuring 7.4 diagonal inches, the device was developed at the Flexible Display Center in conjunction with Army Research Labs scientists.

Scientists discover bees can reverse brain aging

Scientists at ASU discovered that older honey bees effectively reverse brain aging when they take on nest responsibilities typically handled by much younger bees. While current research on human age-related dementia focuses on potential new drug treatments, researchers say these findings suggest that social interventions may be used to slow or treat age-related dementia.

$10M Piper Trust investment to improve health care

The Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust established a $10-million strategic investment fund at ASU to enable ASU to improve all aspects of health care delivery. The investment provides seed funding to support projects that address health care access and delivery, clinical practice, public health issues, obesity, preventive care, education and diagnostics.