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Print edition: February 2002

Features

Car lubricants: fact and friction

Better oils and lubricants could improve efficiency and reduce greenhouse gases

From the big bang to the eureka moment

Peter Rodgers reports from Stephen Hawking's 60th birthday celebrations

Mimicking the brain

Physicists are playing a growing role in attempts to understand information processing in the brain

Nuclear astrophysics: a new era

New facilities promise to shed light on the nuclear processes that control the stellar evolution

Physics in Action

Recreating the Cresta Run

Bobsled drivers hone their skills in an electromechanical simulator

Fusion takes centre stage

Plasma physicists recently reported key advances towards sustained thermonuclear fusion in the laboratory

Fingerprint sensor makes an excellent impression

A new fingerprint sensor works even on sweaty hands

Particles get all dressed up

Terahertz radiation reveals the dynamics of charge screening

Fractals on video

Post-deadline

The beating of the heart

New phase in Bose gases

The Casimir force makes a comeback

News & Analysis

Hot prospects for fridges

Uncertainty in New York

From the big bang to the eureka moment

Keeping a high-tech eye on the planet

Irish build biggest offshore wind farm

Neutron boss takes charge

Finding funding from venture capitalists

UK spin-offs valued highly

Artificial black holes on the research horizon

US backs waste repository

Alexander Prokhorov

Robert Hanbury Brown

George Rochester

Media chief swaps sides

The quantum effects of gravity revealed

Big hole opens up in UK funding

New faces take up top jobs

Editorial

Black holes and beyond

Belief in the existence of black holes is the ultimate act of faith for a physicist

Forum

Dangers of dramatizing science

Robert Marc Friedman warns that historical characters must be portrayed carefully

Critical Point

Horror stories that grow legs

Feedback

Why ISS is not the best abbreviation

Reviews

Quiz questions that need assumptions

Actinium to zirconium and all in between

Hidden Unity in Nature's Laws, John Taylor

200 Puzzling Physics Problems, Peter Gnädig, Gyula Honyek and Ken Riley

Nature's Building Blocks: An A-Z Guide to the Elements, John Emsley