2020 was a massive year by any scale. We have gathered highlights here so you can easily find the research that will drive your next discovery. We present articles, chapters, highly cited journals and new books reflecting the year in Physics. You can browse this page, or dive more deeply into our individual imprints.

A selection of 2020's highlighted research

Insights from the Editorial Team

Dr. Iulia Georgescu, Chief editor Nature Reviews Physics and Dr. Andrea Taroni, Chief editor Nature Physics

What a year! With the COVID-19 pandemic physics might seem all of a sudden less relevant, but, on the contrary, 2020 has been a very rich year in terms of content and renewed awareness of the importance of interdisciplinary research. Epidemic modelling has strong roots in statistical physics and this can be seen in the content published both in Nature Physics and Nature Reviews Physics.  Examples span primary research such as Macroscopic patterns of interacting contagions are indistinguishable from social reinforcement, Perspectives such as Tail risk of contagious diseases or opinion pieces such as Modelling COVID-19 or How you can help with COVID-19 modelling

Despite lockdowns which led to the closure of many labs and the cancellation of numerous conferences, there have been some exciting results such as the observation of anyons (Direct observation of anyonic braiding statistics) reported in Nature Physics and discussed in Nature Reviews Physics (From anyons to Majoranas). 

2020 has also been a year of social turmoil and both Nature Physics and Nature Reviews Physics have engaged in the conversations about inclusion and geographic diversity with editorials (Black physicists matter) and Viewpoints (Physics in Africa and Visibility challenges for Asian scientists).

Springer Journals and Books Editorial Team, Physics

2020 began with the last-minute cancellation of the world’s largest physics conference, setting the tone for a year of virtual meetings, online teaching and socially-distanced lab work.  The Covid pandemic set unprecedented challenges for researchers worldwide, with physicists playing a part in the international effort and publishers taking steps to make the new normal more manageable.  And of course models developed in data science and networks found increasing application (see Human Mobility and the COVID-19 Pandemic).

Despite these challenges, non-pandemic related research goes on.  Investment in quantum technology continues through e.g. the EU Quantum Flagship, with increased focus on realisation and commercialisation.  The European Strategy for Particle Physics update was published in June and work on planned and proposed colliders such as the FCC progresses.  And machine learning makes further rapid inroads in fields as diverse as nuclear physics, fusion, and quantum chemistry and materials science.  

We have to conclude with a huge thank you to all of our authors, editors and reviewers for their continuing efforts and contributions in what has been an exceptionally difficult year.  We hope to see you in person in 2021!