What's up in
condensed matter physics
Is Perpetual Motion Possible at the Quantum Level?
A new phase of matter called a “time crystal” plays with our expectations of thermodynamics. The physicist Vedika Khemani talks with Steven Strogatz about its surprising quantum behavior.
A New Symmetry Shakes Up Physics
So-called “higher symmetries” are illuminating everything from particle decays to the behavior of complex quantum systems.
Room-Temperature Superconductor Discovery Meets With Resistance
A paper in Nature reports the discovery of a superconductor that operates at room temperatures and near-room pressures. The claim has divided the research community.
The Year in Physics
In a year filled with sweet new observations in astronomy and tantalizing breakthroughs in condensed matter physics, the brand-new space telescope takes the cake.
High-Temperature Superconductivity Understood at Last
A new atomic-scale experiment all but settles the origin of the strong form of superconductivity seen in cuprate crystals, confirming a 35-year-old theory.
Physics Duo Finds Magic in Two Dimensions
In exploring a family of two-dimensional crystals, a husband-and-wife team is uncovering a potent variety of new electron behaviors.
Controversy Continues Over Whether Hot Water Freezes Faster Than Cold
Decades after a Tanzanian teenager initiated study of the “Mpemba effect,” the effort to confirm or refute it is leading physicists toward new theories about how substances relax to equilibrium.
Quantum Complexity Tamed by Machine Learning
If only scientists understood exactly how electrons act in molecules, they’d be able to predict the behavior of everything from experimental drugs to high-temperature superconductors. Following decades of physics-based insights, artificial intelligence systems are taking the next leap.
Quantum Simulators Create a Totally New Phase of Matter
One of the first goals of quantum computing has been to recreate bizarre quantum systems that can’t be studied in an ordinary computer. A dark-horse quantum simulator has now done just that.