Fine Structure

Best Physics Papers of 2009

Metadatta, a fascinating if rarely updated blog on physics, has put together a list of the most interesting physics papers of 2009. They're all links to papers (full of physics-speak, so one can't expect to understand them entirely...) but the titles are full of interesting topics from the last couple of years.

A couple notable titles: Measuring Repulsive Casimir Forces which is fascinating because of Casimir forces alone. The Casimir effect is virtual particle pairs interacting with nanoscale objects and understanding these forces has far reaching implications for building effective mechanical objects that are really tiny. Without the Casimir effect, I probably wouldn't believe that virtual particle pairs were anything more than a clever physics trick to explain the unknown.

Secondly, Anisotropic Etching of Single-Layer Graphene which promises to be a huge field for computing in the near future. As silicon transistors get smaller and smaller, we run up against limitations in scale. Single-atom sheets of graphene have properties very similar to silicon and can be scaled much smaller than our current generation of silicon transistors. Finding effective ways of forming graphene sheets into shapes that we want is immensely important to this field and the progress of computing in general.

A couple of the other papers deal with packing, something I don't know much about and searching for the spreading rate of the flu via Google searches. Check them out if you're interested. ]