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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: Condensed matter

Physics on babies' bottoms

Mattias Schmidt talks about his work as a physicist at Procter & Gamble

Electricity, eels and evolution

The role of electric eels and other electrogenic animals in guiding early studies of electricity is revealed in this fascinating book, reviewed by Brian Rasnow

Nanoethical concerns

Using nanotechnology to teach ethics has its pros and cons, finds Robert P Crease

Nanoscience debate rages on

Jon Cartwright looks at the debate surrounding "stripy nanoparticles"

Tiny pretty things

A beautiful introduction to the glories of the nanoworld, reviewed by Margaret Harris

Rise and fall of an electrical genius

W Bernard Carlson's biography of Nikola Tesla begins well but descends along with its subject, according to reviewer David Goodstein

Shedding new light on old art

Martin Fischer shows the benefits for the art world of the laser-based technique of pump–probe microscopy

A romantic scientist

A "magnificent and superior" biography of the 19th-century Danish scientist Hans Christian Ørsted, reviewed by Anja Skaar Jacobsen

The seven chemical wonders

Matin Durrani ponders a former BP chairman’s choices of “seven elements that have changed the world”

Consciousness from the ground up

Werner Loewenstein's Physics in Mind, reviewed by Seth Lloyd

Thinking big about the future

Kirstin Matthews and Padraig Moloney argue for more basic science spending

Between the lines

Books about back-of-the-envelope calculations, cosmology and water waves, reviewed by Matin Durrani and Tushna Commissariat

Vital forces

A rare popular-science book on biophysics, reviewed by Richard Jones

Soft matter's charismatic pioneer

A biography of Pierre-Gilles de Gennes, now available in English translation, reviewed by Tom McLeish

Web life

Ask Nature: a whole website devoted to biomimicry and its many applications