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Physics

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illustration of Nernst effect

WHIRL AWAY  Electrons in platinum move in different directions depending on their spin when the metal is heated at one end. Scientists have observed this phenomenon, called the spin Nernst effect, for the first time.

molecules

PLAYING IT COOL  Molecules are reluctant to chill out, but scientists have taken a step toward making them ultracold. Physicists chilled molecules below a temperature barrier, using lasers and magnetic fields to trap and slow the molecules.

Sun halos

SQUARED OFF  Halos around the sun may appear when cube-shaped ice crystals in clouds in the upper atmosphere scatter light (left). In the lab, nearly cubic ice crystals scatter X-rays into similar-looking concentric circles (right).

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