Long Reading: The five best in-depth articles from New Scientist in 2022

To celebrate the end of the year, our editors have chosen New scientist the very best features of 2022. And as a gift from us to you, they’re all free to read until January 1st


December 25, 2022

To read our top 5 feature articles of 2022, click through to an article and follow the signup instructions New scientist for free.

Some of our top-grossing stories this year have asked tough questions about physics, spoke to our readers about the problems their daily lives face, or been revealed by exclusives New scientist Employees. As a Christmas gift to you, we’ve curated a selection of some of our best feature articles, from the latest anti-aging research to clues into entirely new physics. These in-depth stories are usually only available to paying subscribers, but you can read them for free between December 25th and the end of the year. Here’s our pick of the best and why they made the cut.

1. The longevity diet that could add years to your life

It may sound obvious to say that what you eat makes you live longer. We all know that too much processed food, red meat, and fat can lead us to an early grave, but this article isn’t about that kind of accepted wisdom. Instead, it lays bare the latest research that, if followed, could result in people turning away from a typical Western diet adding decades to their lives. But this isn’t another flimsy diet. What makes this article compelling is that the research it contains brings together decades of biological studies on diet and aging, including clinical trial data, epidemiological studies, and research on centenarians. As well as strict, with a healthy pinch of New scientist Be skeptical, this article is also true news to use, with lots of information on what this new longevity diet is really made of. No wonder it became our most read feature of the year.

2. Tempting clues to new physics from the Large Hadron Collider

You may have heard about the anomalies in the LHCb experiment at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. Fascinating hints of new physics have already been teased in 2021, but an awkward time was ahead for anyone holding their breath. Then, earlier this year, New scientist The collaborators were given an exclusive preview of new results from the LCHb experiments, which not only suggested that the anomalies were solidifying, but also indicated that they hinted at a new force-bearing particle that could explain the particular patterns we are seeing observed in known particles of matter.

In the long term, it might even allow physicists to finally make strides toward a grand unified theory showing that three of the four fundamental forces of nature are all manifestations of the same force. If confirmed, the results would change our understanding of the universe as we know it. Written by University of Cambridge particle physicist Harry Cliff, who works at LHCb, this story gives you a glimpse into one of the biggest discoveries of the year, if not the decade.

3. A better understanding of insomnia and how to treat it

If you happened to be scrolling this article on your phone at an ungodly hour while the world is asleep around you, you’re surely in good company. About 10 percent of people meet the criteria for insomnia, which can have a tremendously disabling impact on daily life. The results of research into the condition have been frustratingly lackluster. However, a new spate of knowledge about the neurological and mental processes underlying insomnia is finally bringing powerful insight into how we can treat the condition. In fact, as discussed further in this article, insomnia has become a solvable problem. So dig in, and if you’re reading this because you can’t sleep, we hope our article can help you fall asleep – in the best way possible.

4. The bold attempt to reformulate physics to account for consciousness

This is a story that inspires you to contemplate one of the deepest, most mind-boggling questions: What is the place of consciousness in our understanding of the universe? In their attempt to explain the universe and everything in it, physicists strive for an objective “view from nowhere” that has nothing to do with the subjective perspective of observers. But the truth is that there is no such thing. For example, we know from our efforts to understand quantum theory and time that the role of the observer cannot be ignored. For this reason, some brave souls are attempting to reframe physics to include subjective experience as a physical part of the world. These ideas can be a bit confusing, ranging from the idea that consciousness is an intrinsic property of matter to a new cosmology rooted in events and the relationships between them, rather than objects in spacetime. But we like to think that this article is as thought-provoking and entertaining as it is confusing.

5. AI unlocks the mysteries of ancient cuneiform texts

With various anniversaries in Egyptology this year, the spotlight has been on researchers working on ancient Egyptian texts, but far less attention is given to people studying the civilizations that wrote in cuneiform, such as the Sumerians and the Babylonians. The fascinating characters on clay tablets that make up the world’s oldest written language are notoriously difficult to decipher. Now artificial intelligence is being used to crack the code of cuneiform and unlock the riches written within for the first time. This charming feature goes behind the scenes of London’s British Museum and gives an exclusive look at the technology in action as AI is used to piece together the tiny fragments of the ancient world’s greatest library.

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