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Season’s greetings

By Hamish Johnston

Photograph of NGC 5189

A giant and brightly coloured ribbon in space. (Courtesy: NASA/ESA Hubble)


It’s a bleak mid-winter day here in Bristol – dark clouds are racing across the sky and the rain is pouring down. That can only mean one thing…it’s Christmas!

Things are winding down at Physics World and we are all looking forward to a well-earned break. But don’t fret, there’s plenty here to keep you amused over the holiday season – including this fantastic image from the Hubble Space Telescope of the planetary nebula NGC 5189. This has been chosen by the Hubble team as its Christmas image because “the intricate structure of the stellar eruption looks like a giant and brightly coloured ribbon in space”.

Here on Earth, groups of physicists across the globe are celebrating their inclusion in Physics World‘s Top 10 breakthroughs of 2012. This year’s top slot is shared by the ATLAS and CMS collaborations at CERN for their discovery of a Higgs-like particle at the Large Hadron Collider. You can read about the Higgs and the rest of our top 10 choices here.

Christmas is a great time to settle into your favourite chair with a good book. To inspire your holiday reading, we’ve put together a podcast in which Physics World editors discuss the merits of our Book of the Year and several shortlisted titles.

Our choice of Book of the Year is How the Hippies Saved Physics by David Kaiser, who tells the story of a group of physicists who in the 1960s and 1970s shared an interest in quantum weirdness and psychedelic drugs.

As a loyal reader, you can test your knowledge of this year’s physics events as reported in Physics World by taking our online quiz.

You can also enjoy a selection of the most stunning pictures of 2012, our favourite multimedia productions and a collection of quirky blog entries.

Finally, our prescient leader Matin Durrani has peered into his quasicrystal ball to share his predictions for 2013 with one and all.

See you all in the new year, and thanks for your dedicated interest throughout 2012.

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