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condensed matter physics

mathematical physics

A Child’s Puzzle Has Helped Unlock the Secrets of Magnetism

People have known about magnets since ancient times, but the physics of ferromagnetism remains a mystery. Now a familiar puzzle is getting physicists closer to the answer.

In Theory

How Complex Wholes Emerge From Simple Parts

Throughout nature, throngs of relatively simple elements can self-organize into behaviors that seem unexpectedly complex. Scientists are beginning to understand why and how these phenomena emerge without a central organizing entity.

A still from an animated illustration of electrons dispersing through a cuprate sample.
condensed matter physics

Universal Quantum Phenomenon Found in Strange Metals

Experiments suggest that exotic superconducting materials share a “strange metal” state characterized by a quantum speed limit that somehow acts as a fundamental organizing principle.

EMBRYO TAIL IN TRANSITION
Abstractions blog

‘Traffic Jams’ of Cells Help to Sculpt Embryos

By measuring mechanical forces inside an embryo for the first time, researchers have shown how a physical “jamming” mechanism assists development.

Art for "‘Quantum Atmospheres’ May Reveal Secrets of Matter"
quantum physics

‘Quantum Atmospheres’ May Reveal Secrets of Matter

A new theory proposes that the quantum properties of an object extend into an “atmosphere” that surrounds the material.

Photo of Lisa Manning
Q&A

The Physics of Glass Opens a Window Into Biology

The physicist Lisa Manning studies the dynamics of glassy materials to understand embryonic development and disease.

520px illustration for higgs fakes
condensed matter physics

Elusive Higgs-Like State Created in Exotic Materials

Two teams of physicists have created the “Higgs mode” – a link between particle physics and the physics of matter. The work could help researchers understand the strange behavior of deeply quantum systems.

520px illustration of classification of phases
condensed matter physics

Physicists Aim to Classify All Possible Phases of Matter

A complete classification could lead to a wealth of new materials and technologies. But some exotic phases continue to resist understanding.

Lucy Reading-Ikkanda/Quanta Magazine
Abstractions blog

The Math That Promises to Make the World Brighter

The color of LED lights is controlled by a clumsy process. A new mathematical discovery may make it easier for us to get the hues we want.