Two researchers from Cambridge: Roxanne Middleton and Jamie Dolan introduce worlds at the scale of the wavelength of light, around 1/10,000th of a millimetre.
This telescope at the South Pole has found polarisation patterns in the cosmic microwave background which are like those expected to be present due to gravitational waves associated with inflation. Read more here.
The excited energy states of the nitrogen nucleus.
I discovered this image of Abdus Salam recently in a talk by Tom Kibble and am struck by its beauty. The text on the wall is a 16c Persian prayer - a reminder of the power of miracles provided they are initiated with hard work.
Salam - a devout muslim, saw his religion as an integral part of his work and once said:
"The Holy Quran enjoins us to reflect on the verities of Allah's created laws of nature; however, that our generation has been privileged to glimpse a part of His design is a bounty and a grace for which I render thanks with a humble heart."
In his Nobel Prize acceptance speech in 1979 , he quoted these verses from the Quran:
"Thou seest not, in the creation of the All-merciful any imperfection, return thy gaze, seest thou any fissure. Then return thy gaze, again and again. Thy gaze, comes back to thee dazzled, aweary."
and then said
"This, in effect, is the faith of all physicists; the deeper we seek, the more is our wonder excited, the more is the dazzlement for our gaze."
This beautiful optics table took two years to build. It exists in the physics department basement. Quite a few different colours (or energies) of laser light are required to cool a molecule due to the more complex energy level structures (compared with an atom) - resulting in this lovely spectacle. The molecules are cooled to temperatures colder than outer space of less than a mK by hitting them with carefully tuned photons of light that exactly match the quantum energy levels of the molecule taking into account the doppler effect.
Francis Everitt gave an interesting talk yesterday at the departmental colloquium about the experimental mission - Gravity Probe B, which completed earlier this year, over forty years after its original conception. The aim of the mission was to verify Einstein's Theory of General Relativity, by investigating two extraordinary phenomena predicted by Einstein: the geodesic effect (warping of spacetime due to the Earth) and the frame dragging effect (the extent to which the earth drags its spacetime round with it). The project is a fantastic story of human vision, tenacity and imagination.