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Print edition: December 2008


A feast of visualization

As physics enters the age of the petabyte, pioneering methods of visualization are fast changing the way we understand and disseminate science. Opening this special issue, Physics World presents a gallery of stunning images from New Journal of Physics

Seeing the quantum world

Barry Sanders explains how state-of-the-art animations are taking over the role of classic quantum-mechanical Gedanken experiments to help visualize the complexities and challenges of the new quantum technologies

A picture of the cosmos

The recently completed Sloan Digital Sky Survey produced digital images of galaxies, quasars and other distant cosmic objects covering one-fifth of the entire sky. Mark SubbaRao and Miguel Aragon-Calvo explain how astronomers are using these data to create accurate maps of the universe

Thinking outside the cube

The discovery that many complex systems are actually well structured networks has not only changed the landscape of physics, but also how we visualize patterns in science, explains C├ęsar A Hidalgo


Obama goes nano

Tennis for two, anyone?

Paris heads to space

Create your own universe


Tevatron reveals new particles, maybe

Galaxy survey casts doubt on cold dark matter

Astronomers snap alien worlds

X-rays from sticky tape

Bendy wires could power mobile phones

News & Analysis

Italian protesters win concessions

SESAME seeks cash to open its doors

Hopes rise for antimatter mission aboard space shuttle

The life of NASA's Phoenix: highlights of its mission to Mars

US company unveils plans for mini nuclear reactors

Road map points US to beyond the Moon

'World class' aim for new optics lab

Condensed-matter physicist to head DESY

High-school physics students on the rise

Telescope to clean up echo of Big Bang

LHC on the mend after accident

Physics of medicine centre launches

Cosmic-ray observatory is inaugurated

The price of free papers

Developing new minds


Seeing is believing

Access all areas


Free for all

Critical Point

Shifty constants

Do some constants need fixing? Robert P Crease relays your suggestions, though he finds that concerns over SI units arouse still more passion


Coke is not it

Mesoscopic mapping

The origins of 'plasma'

Independent thinking

Financial crimes and punishments


Attention, President Obama

Rob Goldston offers his advice for Barack Obama

Wars of the holographic world

Hubble's unsung heroes

Physics books crossword

The remarkable life of Abdus Salam

Bend it like Beckett

Did you know that...?

Coffee-table astrophysics

Lonely bears and the cosmos

Mostly harmless irresponsibility

Astronomy down under

A gem of a formula

Puzzles from a mathemagician


Space to explore

A career in space technology offers great scope for creativity and the chance to build something new. It can even make you relatively popular at parties, as Kevin Middleton describes

Gong for graphene

MacArthur Fellows announced

Mathematical physicists wanted

Movers and shakers

Once a physicist: Ali Parsa

The managing partner of Circle private-healthcare partnership

Lateral Thoughts