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Everyday science

Everyday science

Wave power, terahertz physics and bumper careers advice for graduates

04 Mar 2020 Sarah Tesh

Physics World March 2020 cover

After this winter’s storms caused massive waves to batter the UK coastline, it’s easy for us to see that the sea contains vast amounts of power and energy, but is also highly destructive.

In our cover feature of the latest edition of Physics World magazine, Stephen Ornes investigates why the wave-energy industry is struggling to harness the power of the world’s oceans. Both financial and technical hurdles stand in the way, but researchers and pioneers are persevering with the hope that this clean, renewable source could be the answer to our energy problems.

Elsewhere in the issue, we’re excited to launch of a new series of interviews providing careers advice for physics graduates. Tushna Commissariat asks 10 of today’s top physicists three questions to find out about their day-to-day jobs and what they wish they knew when they started their careers. The March magazine, which is now out in print and digital formats, also features an interview with Nobel laureate Steven Chu, a look at how terahertz science is exploring space, and a mind-bending article on time crystals.

Remember that if you’re a member of the Institute of Physics, you can read the whole of Physics World magazine every month via our digital apps for iOSAndroid and Web browsers. Let us know what you think about the issue on TwitterFacebook or by e-mailing us at

For the record, here’s a run-down of the full issue.

  • Joe McEntee reports from the 2020 Physics in Food Manufacturing conference in Leeds
  • Nobel laureate Steven Chu from Stanford University talks about his successes as energy secretary and tells Richard Blaustein how the US can collaborate in a competitive environment
  • Paul Ewart argues that compulsory retirement can be detrimental to physics
  • James McKenzie looks at why businesses must take action on climate change
  • Robert P Crease reviews the Hayden Planetarium’s new space show
  • Huge technical and financial hurdles face anyone seeking to harness the vast power of the world’s oceans. But as Stephen Ornes explains, for a devout band of researchers and hi-tech business pioneers, the dream of “blue energy” lives on
  • The terahertz range has been barely exploited compared to the rest of the electromagnetic spectrum. Sidney Perkowitz discusses the astronomical applications that have opened up with advances in terahertz detection
  • Peter Hannaford and Kryzsztof Sacha look at how time crystals could have similar applications to condensed-matter devices
  • David Appell reviews Prime Suspects: the Anatomy of Integers and Permutations by Andrew Granville and Jennifer Granville
  • Andrew Robinson reviews Einstein in Bohemia by Michael Gordin
  • Ask me anything: 10 top physicists share their careers advice for physics graduates, including Helen Margolis (NPL), Sadik Hafizovic (Zurich Instruments), Chao-Yang Lu (UST China) and Cather Simpson (Engender Technologies)
  • Caitlin Duffy interrogates the lack of experiments around the claims of biodynamic wine growing
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