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Editor's choice

Mar 10, 2014

Download your free copy of our special issue "New ways to teach and learn physics", which is packed with the latest techniques, tips and trends in physics education

In depth: Atomic, molecular & optical physics

Web life

Confused at a Higher Level – life in the physics department of a small liberal arts college in the US

From ray-gun to Blu-ray

Fifty years after their invention, Sidney Perkowitz examines the huge impact of lasers on science, culture and everyday life

Fusion's bright new dawn

The world's largest laser could transform the search for abundant, carbon-free electricity, as Mike Dunne explains

Between the lines

The other Oppenheimer, cooking for astronauts and the "amazing" Grace Hopper

Measuring (almost) zero

Chad Orzel explains why a non-zero value for the electron's electric dipole moment could be the harbinger of "new physics"

Between the lines

A round-up of the best books to put on your Christmas shopping list – or for someone else to buy for you

Of gluons, atoms and strings

An unusual alliance between physicists who study ultrahot plasmas and ultracold atoms is yielding intriguing results – and may even lead to an experimental test for string theory, as Barbara Jacak reveals

The power of robotics

Robotics competitions supply a vital missing link in science and engineering education, says Robert P Crease

Web life: Hyperphysics

Doing science in the open

Online networking tools are pervasive, but why have scientists been so slow to adopt many of them? Michael Nielsen explains how we can build a better culture of online collaboration

In search of the black swans

The publish-or-perish ethic too often favours a narrow and conservative approach to scientific innovation. Mark Buchanan asks whether we are pushing revolutionary ideas to the margins

Reasons to be cheerful

The economy may be in a nosedive but there is plenty to look forward to in science this year

Phoenix unlocks the icy history of Mars

Jacqueline Hewett speaks to Peter Smith, the principal investigator on NASA's Phoenix mission to Mars

Measuring ultrashort pulses needs precision

Marie Freebody speaks to Rick Trebino about the intricacies of measuring ultrashort pulses and how the devices that characterize such pulses can be commercialized

Optical tweezers: where physics meets biology

Joost van Mameren explains how quantitative force measurements by optical tweezers can unravel the mechanical properties of biological molecules