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Editor's choice

Jan 19, 2014

A special free-to-read digital edition containing 10 of our very best feature articles on the science and applications of light


Nature’s ups and downs

A history of one of the world’s most influential scientific journals is sound in the early years but leaves out some crucial modern developments, Peter Rodgers finds

Physics in the family

Autobiographies of the Nobel-prize-winning crystallographer William Lawrence Bragg, his wife and daughter reveal a family life full of science and love, writes Mark Spackman

Dripping with science

Alok Jha's tales of the enigmatic water molecule and all its many applications intrigue Helen Maynard-Casely

The great high-energy write-off

A forensically detailed analysis of what went wrong with the Superconducting Super Collider impresses reviewer Andrew Robinson

Between the lines

A smorgasbord of popular-science books for your end-of-year delectation, reviewed by Margaret Harris, Hamish Johnston and Tushna Commissariat

Trafficking in big ideas

Siobhan Roberts’ “unflinchingly honest” biography of John Horton Conway sets Arthur I Miller reflecting on the way mathematical geniuses think

Web life: DSFP’s Spaceflight History

A look at spaceflight's lesser-known stories with science writer David S F Portree

A dark day for dinosaurs

Lisa Randall's "entertaining and radical" speculations about dark matter and the dinosaurs intrigue reviewer Pete Edwards, but he's not fully convinced

Between the lines

Theorist Mary Gaillard’s memoir of life at CERN in the 1960s sparkles with insights, while an overview of the hunt for the rarest metals on Earth fails to deliver the goods

Web life: Astrobites

A blog where astronomy PhD students write bite-sized summaries of recent astronomy papers for undergraduates

Between the lines

Insights on the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, sci-fi from Indian astrophysicist Jayant V Narlikar and an overview of the cosmic microwave background

A physicist's sense of beauty

Frank Wilzcek's ability to see things differently is a "true and compelling reason" to read his latest book, according to Philip Ball

Web life: Cosmic Yarns

A cosmologist blogs about science fiction and the scientific questions it raises

The wealth of nations

Physicist César Hidalgo's argument for an information-centric view of economic growth is "wildly fresh and creative", says reviewer Mark Buchanan

Between the lines

Books about the science of keeping things cool and a security breach at one of America's premier nuclear-weapons facilities, plus a DVD featuring some very nerdy science comedy