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Quantum physics 2017 — highlights

Yesterday summarized some of the highlights in quantum physics for 2017 (slideshow): “Quantum Physics in 2017.”

This year ushered in astonishing quantum discoveries from all corners — deep-buried neutrino labs in Antarctica, quantum-computing labs at major universities and even thunderstorms rumbling over Japan. From time crystals to the elusive tetraquark, here are 15 of the most amazing quantum discoveries of the past 12 months.

  • Lightning-bolt particle accelerators
  • A time crystal
  • Ultracold particles
  • Neutrino symmetries
  • Doubly charmed particle
  • Explosive quantum secret
  • Elusive tetraquark
  • A simple quantum computer
  • Long-distance quantum entanglement
  • Quantum teleportation
  • Atomic clock
  • Quantum information
  • Quantum-computing problems
  • Thinnest liquid
  • Reversal of entropy

Some of these were referenced in my posts or comments. Here’s the blurb for Lightning-bolt particle accelerators.

Since 1925, researchers have suspected that the electron cascades of lightning bolts might trigger atom-splitting processes. But for the first time in 2017, researchers proved that lightning is a giant antimatter factory. The flashes of lightning inside thunderstorms, they showed, unleash a chain of events that cause neutrons to split away from ambient nitrogen and oxygen atoms. This process leaves behind unstable, radioactive isotopes — and showers of neutrinos and antimatter, which are detectable from the ground, due to telltale gamma-ray flashes as the antimatter encounters matter and annihilates.