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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

In depth: Atomic, molecular & optical physics

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

Menlo takes frequency combs to the masses

Nadya Anscombe discovers how Nobel prize winning research has been turned into a practical product

Plasmonics propagates into new optical fields

Marie Freebody speaks to Niek van Hulst about the potential wealth of applications for plasmonics

Jenoptik looks to solar for future growth

Michael Mertin is the man responsible for Jenoptik's recent restructure and securing future growth. Jacqueline Hewett asks him how heavily photovoltaics features in these plans

...And now for the next 20 years

Six leading physicists peek into the future

The global-village pioneers

Paul Ginsparg, who founded the arXiv e-print archive, recounts the early days of the Web and looks at how it has changed scientific communication

Two decades and counting...

Opening this special issue marking the 20th anniversary of the launch of Physics World, Matin Durrani says that the magazine still has a vital role to play in the electronic age