Hierarchical networks

March issue

This month we see how the renormalisation group can be applied to complex networks, consider topological pumping of solitons and charge, and celebrate playfulness in physics.


  • Complex optics insight

    Disorder and mode interactions are often treated as sources of noise, but can shape the flow of light in interesting and useful ways. This Insight reviews the fundamental physics and broad applications of optics in disordered and multimodal media.

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  • Solid-state systems are established candidates to study models of many-body physics but have limited control and readout capabilities. Ensembles of defects in diamond may provide a solution for studying dipolar systems.

    • E. J. Davis
    • B. Ye
    • N. Y. Yao
    Article Open Access
  • It is very challenging to model hydrogen at high pressures and low temperatures because quantum effects become significant. A state-of-the-art numerical study shows that these effects cause important changes to the predicted phase diagram.

    • Lorenzo Monacelli
    • Michele Casula
    • Francesco Mauri
  • The observation of band structure features typical of the kagome lattice in FeGe suggests that an interplay of magnetism and electronic correlations determines the physics of this material.

    • Xiaokun Teng
    • Ji Seop Oh
    • Ming Yi
  • Observations of the Schwinger effect—the creation of matter by electric fields—have been hindered by the high required field strength. A mesoscopic variant of the Schwinger effect has now been realized in graphene transistors.

    • A. Schmitt
    • P. Vallet
    • B. Plaçais
    Article Open Access
  • The nautical mile and knot were acknowledged by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures. Bart Verberck wonders why this is not the case anymore.

    • Bart Verberck
    Measure for Measure
  • Driven by curiosity and creativity, materials that are diverted from their intended use may lead to surprising insights. We take a moment to celebrate the playful side of physics.

  • Bibliometric evaluation causes competition and stalls scientific progress. We need to abandon it and encourage collaboration.

    • Jakub Železný
    World View
  • Standards recommended by the International Organization for Standardization are often hidden in plain sight. Angelique Botha, Chair of ISO/TC 334 for Reference Materials, tells us where to look.

    • Angelique Botha
    Measure for Measure
Feynman diagrams that contribute to the production of the Higgs boson form the number ten.

The Higgs boson discovery turns ten

The discovery of the Higgs boson was announced ten years ago on the 4th of July 2012 — an event that substantially advanced our understanding of the origin of elementary particles’ masses.


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