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- Articles by Marianne Freiberger and Rachel Thomas

The early 1950s were an experimental gold mine for physicists, with new particles produced in accelerators almost every week. Yet the strong nuclear force that acted between them defied theoretical description, sending physicists on a long and arduous journey that culminated in several Nobel prizes and the exotic concept of "asymptotic freedom".

Is the Universe finite or infinite? Is there infinity inside a black hole? Is space infinitely divisible or is there a shortest length? We talk to philosophers and physicists to find out.

This is the second article in our four-part series exploring quantum electrodynamics. After successfully applying quantum mechanics to the electromagnetic field, physicists faced a problem of boundless proportions: every calculation they made returned infinity as the answer.

You may have heard of quantum theory and you probably know what a field is. But what is quantum field theory? This article traces the development of quantum electrodynamics in the first half of the 20th century. Hair raising difficulties, heroic struggle and illustrious characters — this story has it all!

This is the third article in our four-part series exploring quantum electrodynamics. After struggling with a theory plagued by unwieldy infinities an ingenious trick put QED back on track.

This is the last article in a four-part series exploring quantum electrodynamics. After a breakthrough that tamed QED in theory, the stick-like drawings known as Feynman diagrams, policed by a young Freeman Dyson, made the theory useable.

Last week leading researchers in sports technology met at the Royal Academy of Engineering in London to demonstrate just how far their field has come over recent years. The changes they make to athletes' equipment and clothes may only make a tiny difference to their performance, but once they're added up they can mean the difference between gold and silver.

Over 3000 mathematicians have gathered to sounds of the tabla and bansuri playing traditional Indian music in the Hyderabad International Convention Centre, and they are all baiting their breath. They are all waiting for the announcement of the Fields medals, the highest honour in mathematics, and the prestigious Gauss, Nevanlinna and Chern Prizes. The hall is a colourful scene filled with mathematicians from around the world, including many local participants in beautiful saris and suits. You can hear a pin drop as the entire hall stands for the entrance of Pratibha Patil, the President of India, who will award the medals to the prize winners...