Pinning down the elusive Majorana fermion
Majorana fermions are a source of great intrigue to theorists because they are their own antiparticle. Beenakker traces the history of Majorana fermions from their prediction in 1937 by the Italian physicist Ettore Majorana. He then brings us to the present day by describing the excitement surrounding a recent experimental result from the Netherlands. The researchers at Leiden University published a paper earlier this year suggesting that they may have seen the first clear-cut signs of Majorana fermions by spotting them in nanowires.
Beenakker is also based at Leiden University, though he was not involved in this latest research. He has proposed a collection of research articles on Majorana fermions, which will be appearing later this year in a special issue of New Journal of Physics.