The Biggest Physics Breakthroughs of the Year

We now know what's needed for secure quantum teleportation
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 15, 2015 1:18 PM CST

(Newser) Physics World has given its 2015 Breakthrough of the Year award to two scientists in China who demonstrated the requirements for secure quantum teleportation. Sadly, this doesn't mean you'll be able to randomly appear anywhere in the world, but it's pretty cool regardless. Basically, the research will enable people to use quantum entanglement to send data across huge distances without the chance of someone listening in, which is "how we'll form the unhackable communication networks of the future," per Science Alert. More of the impressive advances named by the mag:

  • The Battlefield MRI (bMRI) uses ultra-low-field magnetic resonance imaging to conjure up images of injured soft tissues, per Phys.org. While "hospital-based MRI devices are big and expensive," the portable MRI is "a much lighter, less expensive, and low-power alternative that can be deployed to hard-to-reach places like the battlefield and remote hospitals in poor countries," a project leader says.

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  • The discovery of the massless Weyl fermion by scientists from Princeton, MIT, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences was also named. First proposed in 1929, Weyl fermions were believed to make up other subatomic particles but evidence proved elusive. "If applied to next-generation electronics, the fermions could allow for a nearly free and efficient flow of electricity and thus greater power," according to a release.
  • Then there was the first team that measured light reflected from an exoplanet. Working from the La Silla Observatory, the experts were able to determine the mass, orbital inclination, and "reflectivity" of exoplanet 51 Pegasi b, which was first discovered 20 years ago. The information can tell researchers about the makeup of the planet's surface and atmosphere.
Check out the full list here. (Read more physics stories.)

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