To celebrate the end of the year, our editor’s picks New Scientist’s The best feature of 2022.As a gift from us, they’re free to read until January 1st
December 25, 2022
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Some of our hottest stories of the year asked puzzling questions about physics, told our readers about problems they face every day, or were created by new scientist staff. As a holiday gift to you, we’ve rounded up some of the best feature articles, from the latest antiaging research to tips on new physics. These in-depth stories are usually only available to paid subscribers, but you can read them for free between December 25th and the end of the year. Here’s our pick of the best and why they made it.
1. Longevity diet for longevity
What you eat can help you live longer, as obvious as it sounds. We all know that too much processed food, red meat, and fat will kill us early, but this article isn’t about that accepted wisdom. Instead, it reveals the latest research, which, if followed, may find that people who ditch the typical Western diet can live decades longer. But this isn’t another flimsy fad diet. What makes this article so compelling is that it features research that brings together decades of research into the biology of diet and aging, including clinical trial data, epidemiological studies, and studies of centenarians.In addition to rigor, there is also healthy sprinkling new scientist Doubt, this article is also real news that you can use, it contains a lot of information about what this new macrobiotic diet really consists of. No wonder it’s our most-read feature of the year.
2. LHC’s tantalizing hint of new physics
You may have heard of the anomalies in the LHCb experiments at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. Interesting hints of new physics have been teased as early as 2021, but anyone holding their breath is in for an uncomfortable time. Then, earlier this year, new scientist The staff got an exclusive preview of new results from the LCHb experiment, which not only show that the anomaly is consolidating, but also point to a new force-carrying particle that could explain the peculiar patterns we observe in particles of known matter.
In the long run, it might even allow physicists to finally make progress toward a grand unified theory showing that three of the four fundamental forces of nature are manifestations of the same force. If the results are indeed confirmed, they will change our understanding of the universe. Written by Harry Cliff, a particle physicist at the University of Cambridge who works on the Large Hadron Collider (LHCb), this story gives you an insight into what could be the biggest event of the year, if not the decade. One of the great discoveries.
3. Better understanding of insomnia and how to treat it
If you happen to be scrolling through this article on your phone while the world around you is sleeping, then you’re sure to be in good company. About 10% of people meet the criteria for insomnia, which can have a hugely disruptive impact on daily life. Frustratingly, research on the condition has been lacklustre. However, a series of new discoveries surrounding the neural and psychological processes behind insomnia are finally bringing powerful insights into how we can treat the disorder. In fact, as this article continues, insomnia has become a solvable problem. So dig in, if you’re reading this because you can’t sleep, hope our article helps you fall asleep in the best possible way.
4. A bold effort to reformulate physics to explain consciousness
Here’s a story that draws you to ponder one of the deepest, most puzzling questions around: What place does consciousness have in our understanding of the universe? To explain the universe and everything in it, physicists strive for an objective “everywhere view” — one that is independent of the observer’s subjective perspective. But the truth is there is no such thing. For example, we know from efforts to understand quantum theory and time that the role of the observer cannot be ignored. For this reason, some intrepid minds are trying to reformulate physics to include subjective experience as a physical part of the world. These ideas can be a bit confusing, ranging from the idea that consciousness is an inherent property of matter to a new cosmology rooted in events and their relationships rather than objects in space and time. But we like to think the article is thought-provoking and funny, but also puzzling.
5. Artificial intelligence unlocks the secrets of ancient cuneiform writing
With Egyptology’s various anniversaries this year, researchers studying ancient Egyptian texts have been in the spotlight, but less attention has been paid to those who studied civilizations that wrote in cuneiform, such as the Sumerians and Babylonians. The fascinating markings on the clay tablets that make up the world’s oldest written language are notoriously difficult to decipher. Now, artificial intelligence is being used to crack the cuneiform code, unlocking its riches for the first time. This fascinating feature takes place behind the scenes at the British Museum in London, giving an exclusive look at the technology in action as artificial intelligence is used to piece together the tiny fragments of the greatest ancient library.
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