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Podcast: The Most Important Physics Stories of 2012

We're almost done with 2012, and it's time to look back and figure out which physics stories and breakthroughs were the most important. But how should we rank importance in physics? Is the most important research the kind that influences our everyday lives? The kind that saves the most lives? Or should we give the title to the research that slowly but surely moves technology forward?

In this week's podcast Mike and I try to come up with a definition of "important" when it comes to physics research, while we share some of our favorite physics stories from 2012. We cover the discovery of what is believed to be the Higg's boson (here's our jumbo podcast about it), the room-temperature maser (click for our podcast), the physics of spilling coffee (one of the stories covered in Mike's Ig Nobel podcast), neutrinos encoded with information, and the physics of mosquitos in the fog. Next week we'll be back with our favorite astrophysics and astronomy stories from 2012.

For more physics highlights from 2012, check out Physics World's top ten physics breakthroughs of 2012, top ten multimedia highlights of 2012, and favorite physics pictures of 2012. Physics World also chose How the Hippies Saved Physics as their favorite book of 2012. Listen to our podcast with the book's author, David Kaiser, here. Jennifer Ouellette also made a list of top science books from 2012, which includes The Particle at the End of the Universe—you can listen to our podcast with that book's author, Sean Carroll, here.

Have a happy and safe New Year, everyone!


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