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New Scientist International Edition

New Scientist International Edition 2-nov-19

New Scientist covers the latest developments in science and technology that will impact your world. New Scientist employs and commissions the best writers in their fields from all over the world. Our editorial team provide cutting-edge news, award-winning features and reports, written in concise and clear language that puts discoveries and advances in the context of everyday life today and in the future.

United Kingdom
New Scientist Ltd
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51 Numeri


2 minuti
the big q

IT ISN’T often that scientific breakthroughs sound like the next James Bond movie, but quantum supremacy has all the makings of an espionage blockbuster: an online leak, bitter enemies and the potential to save or destroy the world. Well, sort of. With the announcement of the first quantum computer capable of doing calculations beyond those of even the best supercomputers, Google has secured yet another place in the history books, even with rival IBM biting at its heels (see page 6). To help set out what this milestone means – and what it doesn’t – we have put together a special report on all things quantum computing. If qubits leave you queasy, start with our cheat sheet (see page 7), which will put you in a super position of understanding. Our timeline,…

1 minuti
new scientist

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2 minuti
wildfires grip california

CALIFORNIA is burning yet again. As New Scientist went to press, nearly 200,000 people had been ordered to evacuate as strong winds fanned wildfires. Meanwhile, the electricity supply is being turned off in some areas to avoid faulty cables sparking more fires, with a power company warning that as many as 3 million people could be affected. The Getty fire near Los Angeles and the Kincade fire near San Francisco are the latest in a series of huge wildfires in the state in recent years. “The last three years feel so far outside of my lived experience I almost can’t comprehend it,” tweeted Abigail Swann, a climate researcher at the University of Washington, Seattle. She grew up in Sonoma county, where the Kincade fire (pictured) is raging. Wildfires are a natural occurrence in…

1 minuti
new dwarf planet is smallest ever

IT IS time to add a new dwarf planet to the docket. The best images yet of asteroid Hygiea show that it is almost spherical, a key requirement to be upgraded to being a dwarf planet, the most famous of which is Pluto. Hygiea, in the asteroid belt, was discovered in 1849, but we have never before been able to get high-resolution pictures of it. Now images taken by Miroslav Brož at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic, and his colleagues using the Very Large Telescope in Chile have revealed its true shape, and it is much more spherical than we thought (Nature Astronomy, At a bit more than 430 kilometres across, that would make Hygiea the smallest dwarf planet we have found, less than half the diameter of the next-smallest…

6 minuti
google reigns supreme

IT HAS been a bumpy start, but a new era of computing seems to be here. Researchers at Google say their quantum computer has solved a problem that would take even the very best conventional machine thousands of years to crack. The milestone, known as quantum supremacy, represents a long-sought stride towards realising the immense promise of quantum computers, devices that exploit the strange properties of quantum physics to speed up certain calculations. “For those of us working in science and technology, it’s the ‘hello world’ moment we’ve been waiting for”Google CEO Sundar Pichai “This is a wonderful achievement. The engineering here is just phenomenal,” says Peter Knight, a physicist at Imperial College London. “It shows that quantum computing is really hard but not impossible. It is a stepping stone towards a big…

2 minuti
… but what actually is a quantum computer?

QUANTUM computers are machines that use the properties of quantum physics to store data and perform computations. This can be extremely advantageous for certain tasks where they could vastly outperform even our best supercomputers. Classical computers, which include smartphones and laptops, encode information in binary “bits” that can either be 0s or 1s. In a quantum computer, the basic unit of memory is a quantum bit or qubit. Qubits are made using physical systems, such as the spin of an electron or the orientation of a photon. These systems can be in many different arrangements all at once, a property known as quantum superposition. Qubits can also be inextricably linked together through a phenomenon called quantum entanglement. The result is that a series of qubits can represent different things simultaneously. For instance, eight…