David Lindley is a freelance writer in Alexandria, Virginia, and author of Uncertainty: Einstein, Heisenberg, Bohr, and the Struggle for the Soul of Science (Doubleday, 2007).
Theorists propose an experiment to observe a “phoniton,” a novel hybrid of an electron and a quantum of vibration in a crystal lattice.
The atomic force microscope, introduced in 1986, provided atomic-scale pictures of surfaces, with few limitations on the type of sample.
The 1965 discovery of the isolated waves known as solitons—which appear in many physical systems—was a direct result of the new computer technology available for numerical simulations.
A model mixing Brownian motion with purposeful movement guided by vocal signals suggests that Mongolian gazelle herds may have developed an efficient foraging strategy.
A proposed experiment would trap atoms in a nanoscale magnetic field pattern produced by a superconductor—an arrangement that could perform some kinds of quantum computing.
A 1964 experiment on an unusual particle showed a violation of symmetry and led to the conclusion that matter and antimatter are not quite equivalent.
A novel solution to Einstein’s gravitational equations, discovered in 1963, turned out to describe the curvature of space around every astrophysical black hole.
High-energy collisions between electrons and protons produced the first indications, published in 1969, that smaller constituent particles lurked inside protons.
In 1961, researchers showed that laser light could be converted from one color to another, the first nonlinear optical effect, which led to uses ranging from quantum optics to eye surgery.
An automated analysis of the words in 117 years worth of the Physical Review selects scientific memes—significant ideas that emerge and spread through the literature.