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30 December 2020

New Scientist Default Image

Uplifting message

As the world emerges blinking mole-like from the dark tunnel of 2020, let us hope to find sunlit uplands in 2021 – airy spaces less racked by existential fears where we are free to obsess once again about more trivial concerns. Such as “When will an elevator arrive?”.

This is the title of a new paper by physicists Zhijie Feng at Boston University and S. Redner at the Santa Fe Institute (arxiv.org/abs/2012.01471). Physics hasn’t yet been able to supply a precise numerical answer to that pressing (the button, repeatedly, in the belief it will make it come quicker) question, besides the …