Volume 4 Issue 1, January 2008

Volume 4 Issue 1

String theory involves more dimensions than we can see, but our Universe may be restricted to a three-dimensional 'brane' embedded in a higher-dimensional space – an explanation that is convenient yet impossible to test. Branes break a symmetry in a way similar to superfluid 3He, in which the atoms pair up and form a ground-state condensate. Could the interaction of two interfaces within 3He mimic a collision of two branes – say a brane-antibrane pair that some believe led to the Big Bang? Such a collision would leave certain topological defects behind, which is indeed what D. Ian Bradley and co-workers have observed in 3He. [Letter p46]; [News & Views p11]


  • Editorial |

    The Kavli Foundation will award its first prizes in 2008, as two new Kavli Institutes set about making their mark in China.


  • Commentary |

    Only long-term commitment can ensure that quantum information science eventually fulfils its promise of revolutionizing information-based societies.

    • Tommaso Calarco
    • , Philippe Grangier
    • , Andreas Wallraff
    •  & Peter Zoller


Books and Arts

Research Highlights

News and Views

  • News & Views |

    In a polaron, an electron and the lattice distortion that it induces in a crystal form a 'quasiparticle'. But a strong electric field can displace the two constituents with respect to each other, giving a glimpse at the polaron's internal dynamics.

    • Richard D. Averitt
  • News & Views |

    For high-temperature superconductors, results from more refined experiments on better-quality samples are issuing fresh challenges to theorists. It could be that a new state of matter is at play, with unconventional excitations.

    • Didier Poilblanc
  • News & Views |

    The 'spin-transfer torque effect' could provide a powerful means of controlling the orientation of spins with electric currents rather than magnetic fields in future spintronic devices. Quantitative measurements of this effect represent an important next step.

    • Maxim Tsoi




  • Futures |

    There's no such thing as a free lunch.

    • Robert Billing