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In 2012, BYU archaeology students found lost history at the new temple site in Provo. A nursing grad student beat cancer that was first detected in a class exercise. And engineering students made a device straight out of the Batman movies. See what else made the list of the year's 10 most popular stories from

10. Study shows how much parents pay for college

Sometimes less is more. Scholars from BYU found that generous “mom and dad scholarships” don’t always work as intended. The New York Times jumped on the story with this headline: Want your college students to party less? Pay less.

9. Backyard archaeology: Students’ excavation at temple site brings some BYU history full circle

More than 50 students helped uncover the remains of “the old meetinghouse,” the first large building in Utah Valley. Demolished in 1919, the project recovered lost history from the site of the Provo City Center Temple.

8. Grad student surviving cancer detected in class

Today Sharla Morgan is a licensed nurse practitioner at a cancer clinic. But her journey here took an unexpected turn one day during a class exercise for head and neck assessments.

7. BYU engineers create Batman-like device, finish high in Air Force competition

A team of engineering students created a Batman-like device to hook them a Top-3 finish at a national Air Force competition this spring. The students created a grappling hook tool that shoots from a firearm and pulls a person vertically in the air more than 90 feet, just like the Dark Knight is known to do from time to time.

6. BYU study says exercise may reduce motivation for food

Many people assume that you can “work up an appetite” with a vigorous workout. Turns out that theory may not be completely accurate. BYU researchers found that 45 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise in the morning actually reduces a person’s motivation for food. Their research caught the attention of health reporters around the nation.

5. Hawaiian Islands are dissolving, study says

It's no surprise that Hawaii will someday be completely flat. The discovery of how it will happen turned a few heads, though.

4. Helicopter parenting backfires, study shows

There’s a name for the type of parents that make important decisions for their children: Helicopter parents (because they hover closely overhead). If this sounds like a familiar family dynamic, you need to read what BYU family scholars shared with USA Today from their research.

3. Autism severity may stem from fear

Learning when it's ok to not be afraid anymore is more important than you think. Read what a pair of students found in their mentored research project with psychologist Mikle South. 

2. BYU Cougarettes again National Dance Champions in Hip-Hop

In April, BYU’s precision dance team again won the Hip Hop title at the National Collegiate Cheer and Dance Championship. Go Cougarettes!

1. College students more eager for marriage than their parents

The photo says it all, folks. The top story of 2012 from shows what college students around the country and their parents feel is the “right age” to tie the knot – and they don’t exactly agree.

Three Honorable Mentions

BYU engineers conceive disc replacement to treat chronic low back pain

Chronic low back pain has been described as the most severe pain you can experience that won’t kill you. Unfortunately, current surgical treatments offer less than satisfactory results. Two BYU engineering professors conceived a biomedical device this year that will hopefully improve patient satisfaction: an artificial spinal disc that duplicates the natural motion of the spine.

Ever heard a Utahn say 'mountain'?

It’s no secret that Utahns tend to drop the T in words like “mountain.” In fact, they’ve become notorious for it. BYU linguistics professor David Eddington and student Matthew Savage researched how, exactly, it happens — both physically and socially.

BYU animator adapts big-screen talent to small screen with new app

Animation professor Ryan Woodward has worked on Hollywood blockbusters like The Avengers, Ironman 2, and two Spiderman films. But this year, his greatest creation showed up on a small screen. Woodward created the first animated comic book of its kind – a graphic novel built as an iPad App.

Writer: Joe Hadfield & Todd Hollingshead