Tag archives: Physics World at 25
By Louise Mayor
(Warning: spoilers below for those who haven’t yet tried the Physics World at 25 puzzles.)
October 2013 was Physics World’s 25th birthday. It was also the month in which, unusually for me, I compulsively checked the comments being posted on this blog. That’s because we published a series of five physics-themed puzzles as part of the celebrations, which left me both (a) excited to see if people would enjoy them, and (b) nervous that some loose cannon might reveal an answer and spoil the fun! (It didn’t calm my worries that the very first comment made on the very first puzzle – now deleted – was indeed the answer to the puzzle.)
With more than 1000 comments posted in total, the response to the puzzles was staggering. Commenters posted where they’d come in the rankings (“Hallelujah! #121. That was a tough slog.”), encouraged others to persevere (“Ted, I think you’re nearly there. You’re right about the first word”) and recipients of help were very grateful (“Thanks uszkanni! I’ve been going a bit mental on that one.”)
The infographic above-right shows the number of correct answers submitted to the online answer-checking tool for each of the puzzles, as of early December. We were very impressed with those numbers: not everyone at Physics World HQ was so successful.
Some commenters also debated whether there were mistakes in the puzzles or even more than one possible answer. “Please do better next time Louise,” someone warned me.
Unfortunately, as I couldn’t debate this without giving the game away, my lips were sealed! Today, however, we can announce not only the single-word answers to the puzzles, but also how you can arrive at these answers. Thanks again to Colin, Nick and Pete at the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), who composed all the puzzles as well as the solutions below.
If you haven’t tried the puzzles yet, and would like to have a go before seeing the solutions, here are the links to each:
By Louise Mayor
Unless you’ve been living under a stone or aren’t a regular reader, you’ll know that this month marked the 25th anniversary of Physics World – the member magazine of the Institute of Physics (IOP).
We pushed the boat out by turning our October issue into a celebration of all things physics – past, present and future – by picking our top five discoveries in fundamental physics over the last 25 years, the top five images during that period, the five biggest unanswered questions, the top five people changing how physics is done, as well as the top five spin-offs from physics that will improve people’s lives over the next quarter century.
Apart from the special 25th-anniversary issue being the top story on the BBC website for a glorious few hours early in October, we were particularly pleased to see that our pick of the top breakthroughs in fundamental physics inspired a fascinating discussion at John Preskill’s group meeting over at Caltech’s Institute for Quantum Information and Matter.
By Louise Mayor
Did anyone out there manage to bag the whole set? See where you rank by entering all five answers, in sequential order and as a single string of text with no spaces, in the box below.
However you do, we sincerely hope you enjoy trying the puzzles.
For any frustrated puzzlers out there who are at the end of their tether and want to know the answers, do not fret: the solutions will be revealed in the January 2014 issue of Physics World.
By Louise Mayor
It is time for the final and most fiendish challenge in the Physics World at 25 Puzzle. Have you got what it takes to figure it out? #PW25puzzle
Check out our round-up of the entire puzzle series where you can enter your answers to all five puzzles.
This question consists of a list of 55 words, plus one lone word. You have to work out where the lone word slots into the list. Each of the 56 words can be associated with another word and this second set of 56 words are in alphabetical order. The second set of 56 words divide up into seven sets of eight words, with the seven sets representing seven methods of pairing. The list reads from left to right, top to bottom.
Where does FLOW slot into the following list?
METEOR POSITRON PRINCIPLE MARS
NUMBER MODEL COINCIDENCE BORDA
DISH NEUTRON UNIVERSE EFFECT
MOON LANE DAY MAN
LINES HOLOGRAPHY KLEIN NAMAKA
KING SUN GIBBS INDUCTANCE
FREQUENCY TIME WATER ENERGY
IO MASS CYCLOTRON LANDAU
PHOBOS WELL LEVY FERRIMAGNETISM
TRITON TON RESISTANCE PRESSURE
ROSE GROSS CONSTANT CHARON
ARGON NEUTRINO FORD TITAN
CONDUCTANCE FRICTION MIRANDA FORCE
POWER DARCY MODULUS
The answer needs to be entered as three words, in this order: the associated word of the listed word that precedes FLOW, FLOW’s associated word, and the associated word of the listed word that follows FLOW. The three words should be entered as a single string of text with no spaces.
By James Dacey
Last night, the Nobel Laureate Andre Geim gave a talk in Bristol – hosted by Physics World – in which he told a lovely anecdote about the difference between fundamental research and the development of new technologies. Geim, who shared his Nobel in 2010 for his experiments with graphene, described an occasion during a holiday when he took a boat tour to watch dolphins. To the joy of Geim and the crew, these graceful animals glided up alongside the boat as if they were pining for human interaction. The physicist joined the others in reaching over the side of the boat to touch these magnificent beasts, and for a few minutes everyone delighted in the moment. Then suddenly the paradise was lost. To his shock, Geim heard the voice of a little boy behind him: “Mum, can we eat them?”
The point Geim was making was that, for him, it is enough to marvel at the wonder of graphene without necessarily “eating it” by turning it into commercial products. Geim does appreciate, however, that every so often a fundamental discovery does come along (as in the case of graphene) where the potential spin-offs are simply too delicious to resist. The tale of the boy and the dolphin was Geim’s poetic way of saying that he is going to stick with the pure physics, while it is the job of others to speculate about the potential technological uses of his research.
By James Dacey
In just over an hour’s time, I’ll be hopping on my bike and cycling to the top of a steep hill where the Nobel laureate Andre Geim will be found practising his lines. Sir Andre Geim is delivering a talk at the University of Bristol as part of a series of lectures to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Physics World. In Random Walk to Stockholm, Geim is going to be discussing his work on graphene that led to him sharing the 2010 Nobel prize with Konstantin Novoselov. He will also try to explain why this “wonder material” is attracting so much attention today.
For the small percentage of you who live close to Bristol, there are still tickets left for the event, which starts at 18:00 local time (by rippstein). I am planning to publish an audio recording of the lecture on this website after the event, for those of you who cannot attend tonight.
By Louise Mayor
Prepare to be perplexed by the fourth and penultimate brainteaser in the Physics World at 25 Puzzle. #PW25puzzle
Which food is, unusually, mentioned in the third of these well-known laws of physics?
KEPLcRS FIddT iAW ecYc hHec adu OrBug ey hVbit PLsNgm oS ff fjagnhf WenH bbg iUq sg Odh cF fme dfCv
egmyffa kijpNd vql DffmqszgS doW kHd garbtnpgmvbd dF kx nBJdCe xdLjcpe co uic McaS knD jHe FjRcE ACgecG ON IT
THE mmIRD LAW OF THERMODYNAMwCS GIVst xHe kNoRxPY iF nqsnx Ay kjMsivmTUio jjPnOACHlS ZERO
By Matin Durrani
As you may have gathered (and if not, where have you been?) this month marks the 25th anniversary of Physics World – the member magazine of the Institute of Physics (IOP).
The issue has been available in print, online and via our apps (from the App Store and Google Play) since the start of the month to all members of the IOP, but because we want to celebrate our birthday with as many people as possible, we’re now making available a free PDF download of the entire issue to members and non-members alike. The PDF doesn’t have all the great multimedia you’ll find in the online and app versions, but it is still worth checking out.
The issue looks back at some of the highlights in physics of the last 25 years and also forward to where the subject is going next. We’ve split the bulk of the issue into five sections, each with five items (five times five being 25, of course):
By Louise Mayor
Have you got what it takes to crack the third conundrum in the Physics World at 25 Puzzle? You can catch up on the previous two instalments here. #PW25puzzle
You are trying to find a phrase with the pattern 3, 6, 2, 8, 8. The puzzle answer is the six-letter word. We hope you enjoy the joke.
QIGC-YLKQDQRIKR INTPRDLKQ DKYGTSDKA IWYBPKAI PKS YLOOIGPRDLK ICCIYRQ
RKPPDRSEKJ SK LDJQESY-ATJRSEKJWH WMMPKXEIWSEKJQ AKP IWJY-DHDRSPKJ QYQSDIQ
IMJQHN OPTPY JF PVY YDYEPMJH ITO WX T OPJEVTOPAE GYPVJN
By Tushna Commissariat
Inquisitive minds from all over the city of Bristol (where Physics World HQ is based) met at the University of Bristol’s Peel Lecture Theatre last night to hear astrophysicist Catherine Heymans give a talk entitled “The Dark Universe”, in which she tackled dark matter, dark energy, the structure of our universe from the largest to the smallest scales, flying pigs and even astronomical tooth fairies!
Heymans’ lecture was the first of a number of talks to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Physics World that we will be running with the Bristol Festival of Ideas, which hosts special events, talks and screenings held throughout the year in the city.
This being the first time that Physics World has been directly involved with the festival, we were pleased that Heymans’ talk was entirely sold out. And having a particular interest in astronomy, I made sure to attend the event, which proved to be a great success.