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2013 review: Top ten breakthroughs in physical science

作者:种氚猜    发布时间:2019-03-15 14:10:01    

(Image: M. Buser, E. Kajari and W. P. Schleich) By Celeste Biever One of the simpler concepts we’ve covered this year Read more: “2014 preview: 10 ideas that will matter next year” From time-travel movies to wormhole entanglement, 2013 delivered a load of mind-boggling ideas. It was also the year that several big experiments delivered the goods we were hoping for: the Planck telescope provided the most accurate map of the big bang’s afterglow; the discovery of the Higgs boson was confirmed, winning those who first predicted it the Nobel prize; and neutrinos from outer space were finally glimpsed. But as attempts to solve a knotty problem known as the black hole paradox reveal, we’re in no danger of running out of mysteries quite yet. First real time-travel movies are loopers Hollywood has played with time travel for decades, but now physicists have captured on camera what travelling to the past actually looks like. Planck map reveals birth, life and death of a cosmos The best map yet of the cosmic microwave background – the big bang’s “afterglow” – provided both novel insights and strange anomalies. Neutrinos from outer space open new eye in the sky Supermassive black holes, giant exploding stars and dark matter may give up their secrets now that a telescope buried under the Antarctic ice has detected neutrinos from deep space. First nanotube computer could spark carbon revolution Watch out, silicon: a functioning computer was built from carbon nanotubes – and it comes with its own operating system and software. Pitch drop caught on camera after 69-year wait One of the world’s longest-running experiments climaxed when a finger-sized bulb of pitch (bitumen) separated from its parent bulk and dropped into a beaker. For the first time ever, the fleeting event was recorded on video. Google and NASA team up to use quantum computer Big-name clients for quantum-computer maker D-Wave signal that the devices are going mainstream, and may even power the wearable computer Google Glass, due to be released to the public in 2014. But though the computers are fast, it’s still not clear whether they are truly quantum Wormhole entanglement solves black hole paradox Tunnels through space-time and spooky action at a distance – two of the most baffling ideas in physics – may be different manifestations of the same thing. It’s an insight that could pave the way for a theory of quantum gravity, and solve a niggling paradox surrounding black holes Elusive Higgs wins physics Nobel, shared with Englert In 2012, they found the particle. This year, it earned its stripes. The 2013 Nobel prize in physics went to Peter Higgs and François Englert for developing the theory of how particles acquire mass via the Higgs boson and accompanying Higgs field. The prize followed the particle’s official recognition as a Higgs boson earlier this year. First fluid knots created in the lab Knots are already a subject of fascination to mathematicians – these new beauties are made of water and could boost our grasp of aircraft wings and weird quantum superfluids. New 17-million-digit monster is largest known prime A distributed computing project found a prime number larger than any other known. 2013 also saw serious progress on an intractable problem known as the twin prime conjecture. More on these topics:

 

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