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And the most popular cover is…

24 Nov 2008 Hamish Johnston

And the winner is…September 2008

By Hamish Johnston

The results are in and your favourite Physics World cover comes from the September 2008 issue of the magazine (right). The collage of galaxies was inspired by an illustration in John D Barrow’s book Cosmic Imagery: Key Images in the History of Science.

The cover, which garnered 13% of the 1303 votes in our recent survey to mark the 20th anniversary of Physics World, contains 56 striking images of galaxies that were derived from actual photos taken by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.

The cover highlights the Galaxy Zoo project, which recruits members of the public to help classify the thousands of galaxy images taken by the SDSS telescope in New Mexico.


March 1998 is done in John Richardson’s “Lichtenstyle”

My favourite cover – a brilliant homage to the late American pop artist Roy Lichtenstein – was runner up with 11% of the vote.

The cover of the March 1998 issue was created by the UK-based cartoonist John Richardson and shows “Alice and Bob, the central characters in many quantum information papers”. You can view a gallery of Richardson’s art here .


November 2001 is a salute to Andy Warhol

Pop art is also the theme of the third-place cover from November 2001, which uses eight slightly different “Schrödinger’s cats” to illustrate the concept of quantum cloning à la Andy Warhol.

The cat belonged to then features editor Val Jamieson (now at New Scientist), and I’m told it only had one eye – the other being cloned in our design studio. Sadly, the final measurement has been made on this cat.

The covers were voted on by our readers from a shortlist of 20 chosen by Matin Durrani and Dens Milne.

…and which cover was the least favourite? It’s the cover from July 2006 that illustrates an article on Hollywood physics – this attracted about 1% of the vote.

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