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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: Condensed matter

A salty safety solution

Johan Wåhlin and Alex Klein-Paste explain why millions of tonnes of salt are spread on icy roads every year in the pursuit of safe driving conditions

When cold warms faster than hot

Jennifer Ouellette explores the controversially counterintuitive phenomenon of hot water freezing faster than cold – and why some scientists think a reverse effect may even occur too

Land of milk and neutrons

Erik Brok and Søren Roi Midtgaard describe how neutron-based measurements are helping dairy firms understand the complex structure of milk

Show us your metal

Harvard physicists Isaac Silvera and Ranga Dias claim they made metallic hydrogen, but other remain unconvinced. Jon Cartwright explores both sides of the argument

The physics of bread

Robert P Crease talks to Nathan Myhrvold – author of the new five-volume blockbuster Modernist Bread – about the science and history of our favourite foodstuff

Fighting fire with fire

Stephen Ornes on the many open questions when it comes to the physics of wildfires

Smooth sailing

Superhydrophobic surfaces with the right microscopic structures could help reduce friction on ships, as CJ Kim explains

The cutting edge of quantum physics

Daniel Twitchen and Matthew Markham explain how diamonds could become a quantum physicist’s best friend

The secrets of the blue fog

Oliver Henrich and Davide Marenduzzo reveal how blue liquid crystals could lead to new display devices

Web life: Nanoscale Views

“A blog about condensed matter and nanoscale physics. Why should high energy and astro folks have all the fun?” says blogger Douglas Natelson

Hungry for solutions

Foods designed to make us feel full could help stem rising rates of obesity. Cait MacPhee explores the potential of these "functional foods"

Brewing coffee

Robert P Crease finds there’s more to espresso machines than meets the eye

The journey of a crisp

Louise Mayor discovers how physicists are optimizing the manufacture of this popular salty snack

Between the lines

Books about the science of cities and artificial intelligence, plus a film about Russia’s nuclear “closed city”, reviewed by Margaret Harris and James Dacey

A physical feast

Mystified by modernist cuisine? Margaret Harris reviews a book that takes culinary physics "out of the lab and into your kitchen"