|Now with hidden dimensions!|
Me? I'm all for bold theorizing -- it offers great grist for the SF-authorial mill -- but when wearing my physicist hat, I'm troubled when a theory, such as string theory (the umbrella term, as it happens, for many theories, not just one), not only hasn't been confirmed experimentally, but offers no hope, even (ahem) theoretically, for testability. For a longer discussion, see "Data vs Theory: The Mathematical Battle for the Soul of Physics."
|Now we can all calm down :-)|
Perhaps not. A recent study concludes all that lithium was produced and still exists, but much of it has disappeared down the maw of stars. Cool (or, er, hot) stuff. See one of Astronomy Magazine's top-ten stories of 2015: "Solving the lithium mystery."
Speaking of the elements, "Periodic table's seventh row finally filled as four new elements are added." But while the new elements likely will make it to wall charts in high-school chemistry classes, the elements themselves won't be in chem labs. These elements all decay within a fraction of a second. That's faster than even Tom Lehrer can sing the periodic table :-)
(Personal note: my undergrad physics adviser was Tom Lehrer's first sound engineer, back when both were at MIT.)
|Only much much smaller|
It looks like researchers have come a big, er, a tiny, step closer. See "Molecular arm grabs, transports, releases molecular cargo." A key quote from that article:
UK chemists have devised a nanoscale robot that can grasp a cargo molecule, pick it up, place it in a new position some distance away and release it. At no time does the cargo dissociate from the machine or exchange with other molecules. While such a sequence of actions is trivial on a macroscopic scale, to achieve it synthetically with small molecules is unprecedented and could mark the start of a new era of molecular robotics. Multiple similar robots in sequence could, for example, replicate a factory’s assembly line to build increasingly complex molecular structures.
I'd argue we've already covered a great deal, ranging from the cosmic to the nanoscale, and from the most theoretical to hands-on. (Theoretically hands on. Those transuranic elements are highly radioactive.) But if you're hungering for more, check out Physics World's highlights and predictions for the year: "The world of physics in 2016."