Image of cosmic web named one of top 10 physics breakthroughs of 2014
In January, researchers from the University of California at Santa Cruz and the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy released the first image of the filamentary distribution of matter in intergalactic space – the cosmic web. Now, their discovery has been named as one of the top 10 physics breakthroughs of 2014 by Physics World, the magazine published by the Institute of Physics (IOP). The top-10 breakthroughs were chosen by a panel of six Physics World editors and reporters. Criteria included fundamental importance of research, significant advance in knowledge, a strong connection between theory and experiment, and general interest to all physicists.
The imaging result, obtained by Sebastiano Cantalupo, Piero Madau and Xavier Prochaska of the University of California Santa Cruz in the US, and Fabrizio Arrigoni-Battaia and Joseph Hennawi at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, exploited the intense radiation generated by a supermassive black hole, which, like a flashlight, illuminates the cosmic web, revealing its structure.
The breakthrough of the year award went to the Rosetta comet mission, which also involves scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research; another runner-up was the Borexino experiment, which involves researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics.