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The April 2012 issue of Physics World is out now

By Matin Durrani


Alien plants, coffee stains and the sinking of the Titanic are three topics you probably wouldn’t expect to see back-to-back in any publication, let alone the April issue of Physics World. Strange as it may seem, however, there is a physics theme to them all. So for your delight, here’s a quick summary of what’s in the new issue – and there are details at the end of this blog about how to access the entire content of the magazine via our digital issue and apps. And remember, let me know what you think of any of the topics by e-mailing me at

Taking on the climate – James Dacey interviews the US cosmologist Richard Muller, who has started two separate projects that both led to Nobel prizes and who is now tackling the nature and extent of global warming.

Putting Goonhilly back on the map – Michael Banks reveals how a derelict communications facility in Cornwall, UK, is being refashioned into a state-of-the-art astronomy facility that could one day join the UK’s leading array of radiotelescopes

Mending the broken pipe – Lesley Cohen from Imperial College London examines what can be done to encourage more women into physics.

The cat that never diesPhysics World columnist Robert P Crease wonders why the idea of Schrödinger’s cat is still so alive today, some 75 years after its birth.

The perfect storm – a century on from the Titanic tragedy, Richard Corfield says that the cascade of fateful events that led to her demise was partly caused by the science of the ship’s construction.

Life under alien skies – Lewis Dartnell from University College London describes some preliminary, but increasingly well founded, efforts to predict what alien plants and animals might look like.

Say goodbye to coffee stains – H Burak Eral, Dirk van den Ende and Frieder Mugele from the University of Twente explain how the stains that liquids leave behind, which can be a major annoyance in some biology techniques, can be altered for the better using a technique called electrowetting.

We are cosmic nomads – in this month’s Lateral Thoughts, Pangratios Papacosta from Columbia College in Chicago muses on our home in the universe.

Members of the Institute of Physics (IOP) can read the new issue online free right now through the digital version of the magazine by following this link or by downloading the Physics World app onto your iPhone or iPad or Android device, available from the App Store and Google Play, respectively. The digital version lets you read, share, save, archive and print articles – either fully laid out or in plain text view – and even have them translated or read out to you.

If you’re not yet a member, you can join the IOP as an imember for just £15, €20 or $25 a year via this link. Being an imember gives you a full year’s access to Physics World both online and through the apps.

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