[Image above] Credit: US Army RDECOM; Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0


If your work involves batteries or silicon, consider yourself among the members of the five hottest fields in scientific research. 

Thomson Reuters’ “Research Fronts 2014: 100 Top Ranked Specialities in the Sciences and Social Sciences” identifies the top 100 hottest fields of scientific research, as well as nearly four dozen emerging research fronts. These two lists are determined based on a “comprehensive analysis” of citations in scientific literature, specifically, InCities Essential Science Indicators research platform and data from the Web of Science, according to a Thomson Reuters news release.

According to the report, produced in collaboration with the National Science Foundation and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the five hottest fields in scientific research (in no particular order) are: 

1. Uncovering genetic links to ALS and dementia. ALS was big news in 2014, with people across the country drenching themselves in buckets of ice cold water to raise funds and awareness, so it’s no surprise to find a top research ranking in the report. 


2. Longer-life batteries. We write about batteries, well, often. (See here, here, here, here, and here). And when we do, we’re writing about the wealth of research being done. The quest to deliver the highest-powered, lowest-cost, and longest-lasting battery on the market is constant. We would be shocked if batteries weren’t in the top five.


3. Silicon science. This is a selection on which we agree: Silicon science is hot. Thomson Reuters points to growth properties of silicon and physics among the field’s “noteworthy” topics. 


4. Understanding the impacts of drought and heat. The environment and ecology are perennially hot research topics, and with all the drought we experienced in 2014, rightly so.


5. Psychology. We’ll never stop trying to figure out why we act, say, and do the things we do. Never.


Among the emerging fields, Thomson Reuters declares the following five research topics noteworthy:

1. Genomic editing and repair. “CRISPR/Cas System for Genomic Editing, Biological Sciences”


2. Neglected diseases. “Clinical and Virological Features of Middle East Respiratory System, Clinical Medicine”


3. New electronics. “Inverse Spin Hall and Spin Seebeck Effects, Physics”


4. Alternative energy. “High Performance Perovskite-Sensitized Solar Cells, Chemistry and Materials Science” (Three cheers for perovskites and all materials science!)


5. Advanced imaging. “Application of Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Functional Connectomics, Biological Sciences”



To view the other 95 hottest research fields and 39 emerging fields, click here to view the full report.

What do you think of the list? Is anything missing? Was a field included that shouldn’t have been? Sound off in the comments.