Patterns of emergence are all around us. Credit: Feliciano Guimarães/Flickr, CC BY

By Andy Martin, University of Melbourne and Kristian Helmerson, Monash University

From the fractal patterns of snowflakes to cellular lifeforms, our universe is full of complex phenomena – but how does this complexity arise?

I wonder how interesting can be to an outsider to learn that the mass of the sixth quark is now known to 0.38% accuracy, thanks to the combination of measurements of that quantity performed by the CMS experiment at CERN. In fact, the previously best measurement was the one recently published by the DZERO collaboration at Fermilab, which has a relative 0.43% accuracy. "So what" - you might say - "this 14% improvement does not change my life". That's undeniably true.
Sense About Science is a non-profit organization that campaigns in favour of more correct diffusion and use of scientific information. It is a great attempt at increasing the quality of the scientific information in circulation, focusing on evidence and debunking false claims. The web site of the organization explains:

The very small is very weird; I explained that the last time in Small Is Ugly 1 already with help of the example of water being in the driest of places (Vastness and Fastness of the Small helps Evolution is of course somewhat related). And today, I still do not mean supposed "quantum weirdness", which is not about small stuff.

In the early morning hours of March 4th, 2002, a reconnaissance team of US Navy SEALs became pinned down on the ridge dividing the Upper and Lower Shahikot valley in Afghanistan.

A Chinook helicopter with 21 men on a mission to rescue them was heading for the snowcapped peak of Takur Ghar  when U.S. military officers in Bagram radioed them with a message not to land on the peak, because the mountaintop was under enemy control. 

The rescue team never got the message. Just after daybreak, the Chinook took heavy enemy fire and it crash-landed on the peak. Three men were killed in the ensuing firefight.

Last Friday Samuel Ting, the winner of the 1975 Nobel prize in Physics for the co-discovery of the J/ψ particle, gave a seminar in the packed CERN main auditorium on the latest results from AMS, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer installed on the international space station.

Physicists at the University of Geneva have succeeded in teleporting the quantum state of a photon to a crystal over 25 kilometers of optical fiber.

The experiment shatters the previous record of 6 kilometers achieved 10 years ago by the same  team. Passing from light into matter, using teleportation of a photon to a crystal, shows that, in quantum physics, it is not the composition of a particle which is important, but rather its state, since this can exist and persist outside such extreme differences as those which distinguish light from matter.

The latest experiments have enabled verifying that the quantum state of a photon can be maintained whilst transporting it into a crystal without the two coming directly into contact.

How is this for some exciting news, straight from the same source as “I Let My Computer Use My Brain” three years ago, but much advanced in the ways artificial intelligence (AI) has integrated itself further so that most anybody can now work with it, or better, play with it and do cutting edge research nevertheless (UPDATE: this is now also featured on the Wolfram website):

What is dark matter? No one can say because it can't be detected or measured, but in science inference can help and we know that something is making gravity not work properly at the large scale.

What we know as matter - stars, planets, us and other organisms - is baryonic matter, but it is only a small fraction of the universe. The rest gets lumped under blanket terms like dark energy and dark matter. Dark matter must be a form of matter the particles of which move slowly in comparison with light and interact weakly with electromagnetic radiation.

Being at CERN for a couple of weeks, I could not refrain from following yesterday's talks in the Main Auditorium, which celebrated the 90th birthday of Herwig Schopper, who directed CERN in the crucial years of the LEP construction.

A talk I found most enjoyable was John Ellis'. He gave an overview of the historical context preceding the decision to build LEP, and then a summary of the incredible bounty of knowledge that the machine produced in the 1990s.