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Print edition: August 2009


The Earth – for physicists

Scientists are beginning to understand the extent to which the evolution of our planet has been shaped by collisions, bombardments and catastrophes. John Baez tells the violent history of a pale-blue dot

Beyond the wonder material

The remarkable properties of graphene — a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon that was first isolated in 2004 — have produced a wave of discoveries in fundamental physics. But its new chemical cousin, graphane, may prove more amazing still, as Kostya Novoselov explains.

A tale of two minds

The Pakistani theorist Abdus Salam was the first Muslim scientist to win a Nobel prize. So why, wonders Gordon Fraser, have Salam’s achievements gone largely ignored by his homeland, whereas India has treated its great mathematical genius Srinivasa Ramanujan so differently?


Who's new at the Zoo?

Stage fright

The map and trap rap

Bang goes the waste


Feynman's 'quantum walk' observed

Seeing inside bones

Sand drips like water

DNA sifts nanotubes

Clothes that can see

News & Analysis

UK physics hit by fresh funding cuts

Universities give record level of support to the UK economy

Canadian reactor delays add to agency's troubles

Extension for Spanish reactor fails to satisfy operator

Fledgling site challenges arXiv server

Public praise for science

The Copernicium revolution

Japan completes space lab

Pakistan boosts science budget

Science road map unveiled

Physicist sentenced for export violation

Japan accelerates ahead


Braced for bad times


Threats to ultra-high-field MRI

A new European directive designed to prevent workers from being exposed to high magnetic fields could potentially have a severe impact on research into magnetic resonance imaging, warns Denis Le Bihan

Critical Point

Religion explained

Robert P Crease uncovers the secret of the conflict between science and religion in responses to a Physics World survey


A bunch of Bologna

Supporting research in a recession

Out of time

Comments from

Fraud, misinformation and the open culture

Still wishful on fusion

Fiddling on the roof


From prairie to energy frontier

Robert Roser examines the history of Fermilab

Web life: Planet SciCast

Bite-size videos about science

How Britannia beat the waves

Revenge of the mathematicians

Revisit your enthusiasm


Scientists in the newsroom

Media fellowships can help physicists improve the way that they communicate their results to the outside world, and also offer valuable insights into how the other half live, as Helen Czerski describes

Once a physicist: Conrad C Lautenbacher Jr

Retired US Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C Lautenbacher Jr served as the administrator of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) from 2001 to 2008

Blue-LED developer bags award

Swiss physicist wins first Bell Prize

Stellar-evolution pioneer honoured

Movers and shakers

Lateral Thoughts

Blame it on the butterfly