2012 review: The year in the physical sciences

Even the universe probably isn't eternal (Image: Jupe/Alamy)
You may have thought that 2011 was the year of amazing physics, but 2012 soundly beats it. Whereas last year threw up intriguing questions, 2012 was a year of answers, some enabled by marvels of engineering.
A boson resembling the Higgs popped up at the largest particle accelerator ever built, confirming hints first glimpsed at the end of 2011. Statistics were crucial to that discovery and proved vital even in the US presidential elections. But 2012 brought lessons as well as triumphs: what looked in 2011 like neutrinos breaking the cosmic speed limit was revealed to be an engineering flaw. Now, relive the roller coaster.
Beyond Higgs: Deviant decays hint at exotic physics
The world's most wanted particle has shown up at last, and surprises in its behaviour could help transcend the limits of the standard model of particle physics
Neutrino speed errors dash exotic physics dreams
Extra dimensions, time travel and tachyons all seemed a little more likely in the wake of claims that subatomic particles called neutrinos had moved faster than light – but the universe just returned to its slightly more mundane self
If you want to be president, hire geeks not pundits
As the US re-elected President Barack Obama, mathematics fans crowned their own king: statistician Nate Silver. Elections of the future could be won by the party with the best stats
Why physicists can't avoid a creation event
The big bang may not have been the beginning of everything – but new calculations suggest we still need a cosmic starter gun
Fiendish 'ABC proof' heralds new mathematical universe
Solving this 25-year-old puzzle meant tearing up and rebuilding the basic elements of number theory – and the result could prise open other enigmas
Death-defying time crystal could outlast the universe
Don't take the heat death of the universe lying down – a time crystal, symmetrical in time rather than space, would have the power to survive even the end of the universe
Truth of the matter: The Majorana particle mystery
Can a single entity be matter and antimatter at the same time? The idea was first aired 80 years ago, but now matter-antimatter hybrids seem to have been sighted trapped in the innards of a solid superconductor
Quantum measurements leave Schrödinger's cat alive
Physicists have probed a delicate quantum state without destroying it – the equivalent of taking a peek at the metaphorical cat without killing it
US judge rules that you can't copyright piMovie Camera
The mathematical constant pi continues to infinity, but an extraordinary lawsuit that centred on this most beloved string of digits has come to an end – on Pi Day
Move over graphene, silicene is the new star material
After only a few years basking in the limelight, wonder material graphene now has a silicon-based competitor that could be more compatible with electronic devices


Δεν υπάρχουν σχόλια:

Δημοσίευση σχολίου