The status of women in science, the nature of black holes and the role of cattle domestication in human prehistory were the topics of some of our favourite long-form pieces of 2013.

Taxonomy: The spy who loved frogs

To track the fate of threatened species, a young scientist must follow the jungle path of a herpetologist who led a secret double life.

11 September 2013

Brain decoding: Reading minds

By scanning blobs of brain activity, scientists may be able to decode people's thoughts, their dreams and even their intentions.

17 July 2013

Astrophysics: Fire in the hole!

Will an astronaut who falls into a black hole be crushed or burned to a crisp?

3 April 2013

Antibiotic resistance: The last resort

Health officials are watching in horror as bacteria become resistant to powerful carbapenem antibiotics — one of the last drugs on the shelf.

24 July 2013

Archaeology: The milk revolution

When a single genetic mutation first let ancient Europeans drink milk, it set the stage for a continental upheaval.

31 July 2013

Inequality quantified: Mind the gender gap

Despite improvements, female scientists continue to face discrimination, unequal pay and funding disparities.

6 March 2013

Climate assessments: 25 years of the IPCC

A graphical tour through the history of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the science that underlies it.

18 September 2013

Graphene: The quest for supercarbon

Graphene's dazzling properties promise a technological revolution, but Europe may have to spend €1 billion to overcome fundamental problems.

20 November 2013

Health: The big fat truth

More and more studies show that being overweight does not always shorten life — but some researchers would rather not talk about them.

22 May 2013

Medical research: Cell division

A cell strain extracted from an aborted fetus in 1962 remains a crucial, but controversial, source of cells more than 50 years later.

26 June 2013

Credit: andy potts