What's up in
condensed matter physics
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.
Major Quantum Computing Strategy Suffers Serious Setbacks
So-called topological quantum computing would avoid many of the problems that stand in the way of full-scale quantum computers. But high-profile missteps have led some experts to question whether the field is fooling itself.
Physicists Create a Bizarre ‘Wigner Crystal’ Made Purely of Electrons
The unambiguous discovery of a Wigner crystal relied on a novel technique for probing the insides of complex materials.
Eternal Change for No Energy: A Time Crystal Finally Made Real
Like a perpetual motion machine, a time crystal forever cycles between states without consuming energy. Physicists claim to have built this new phase of matter inside a quantum computer.
The ‘Weirdest’ Matter, Made of Partial Particles, Defies Description
Theorists are in a frenzy over “fractons,” bizarre, but potentially useful, hypothetical particles that can only move in combination with one another.
Graphene Superconductors May Be Less Exotic Than Physicists Hoped
Superconductivity has been discovered in graphene devices without any twists, suggesting the form of superconductivity in the material might be mundane after all.