August issue of Physics World looks at friendships and rivalries between sibling scientists

1 August 2017

Who inspired you to study physics? Perhaps you had a great teacher or a supportive parent. But how might it feel if you’ve got a sibling who’s also into the subject? Would they be your rival or would the two of you support and nurture each other?

Physics World August 2017 cover

These issues facing sibling scientists are the cover feature of the August issue of Physics World magazine, which is out now. Turns out that sibling scientists are generally a force for good, especially with the elder child acting as a mentor and guide – often providing information, support and advice to the younger sister or brother.

It invites the question of whether we should do more to encourage boys and girls who are already in thrall with physics to persuade their siblings into the subject too.

Here’s a rundown of what else is in the issue.

On the receiving end – Individuals and foundations in the US are donating vast amounts of wealth to support fundamental physics research. But as Alaina G Levine reports, this innovative funding stream is unlikely to replace governmental support

A new mindset – Andrew Coe says that physicists need to be more open minded to help build an inclusive environment for people who identify themselves as LGBT+

Oh, America – Robert P Crease identifies the main threat to the US’s approach to scientific planning

Embracing failure – Engineers typically do all they can to stop structures from mechanically failing. But as Daniel Rayneau-Kirkhope and Marcelo A Dias explain, we can exploit such “elastic instability”, with inspiration from nature

A shared journey of discovery – Scientific collaborations often span the globe, but what happens when a potential colleague is someone much closer to home? Benjamin Skuse looks at the lives of researchers where science is a family affair

When goofing off is good – Daniel Whiteson describes how his attempts to explain the Higgs boson to a wider audience led to a collaboration with the artistic brains behind PHD Comics

Building baby universes – Peter Coles reviews A Big Bang in a Little Room: the Quest to Create New Universes by Zeeya Merali

Tales of India’s rocketeers – Vasudevan Mukunth reviews ISRO: a Personal History by
R Aravamudan and Gita Aravamudan

Going further afield – Xinzheng Li, a condensed-matter physicist from Peking University
in China, tells Michael Banks why it’s important for early-career scientists in China to gain
research experience outside of the country

Once a physicist – Meet Dave Donaldson, a professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US, who conducts research on topics related to international and inter-regional trade in low-income countries

When colour sometimes matters – AJ Allnut on how colour can sometimes matter in unexpected ways

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