Arches of chaos in the solar system, luxury watch has bits of Stephen Hawking’s desk – Physics World


Arches of chaos: Jovian-minimum-distance maps for the Greek and Trojan orbital configurations. (Courtesy: Nataša Todorović, Di Wu and Aaron Rosengren/Science Advances)

If we had a “Physics paper title of the year award”, the 2020 winner would surely have to be “The arches of chaos in the solar system”, which was published this week in Science Advances by Nataša Todorović, Di Wu and Aaron Rosengren. In their paper, the trio “reveal a notable and hitherto undetected ornamental structure of manifolds, connected in a series of arches that spread from the asteroid belt to Uranus and beyond”. These manifolds are structures that arise from the gravitational interactions between the Sun and planets. They play an important role in spacecraft navigation and also explain the erratic nature of comets.

The paper is beautifully written, describing the manifolds as “a true celestial autobahn,” and going on to say that they “enable ‘Le Petit Prince’ grand tour of the solar system”. And if that has not piqued your curiosity, the figures are wonderful as well – with the above image being “Jovian-minimum-distance maps for the Greek and Trojan orbital configurations”.

The luxury watchmaker Bremont has released the Hawking Limited Edition watch that contains bits of a wooden desk once used by the late Stephen Hawking. The “exquisite chromometer” also contains pieces of a meteorite and is etched with a view of the night sky as seen from Oxford on 8 January 1942, Hawking’s place and date of birth. What is more, the serial number of the watch is printed on paper from a 1979 paper by Hawking that was cowritten by Gary Gibbons.

One of these watches can be yours for as little as £7995, if you settle for the stainless-steel or “quantum” models, but the white gold model will set you back £18,995.

Interestingly, a preprint of a 1979 paper by Hawking and Gibbons fetched £3000 at auction in 2018. So, check your filing cabinets, there might be something there that you can sell to a luxury watchmaker.

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