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Physical sciences/Physics/Condensed matter physics/Phases of matter/Solids

She is among the world’s top theoretical physicists, influential among colleagues and well-known for popularizing the esoteric science of string theory, branes, and unseen dimensions. Now, though, Lisa Randall is focused on experiments underway beneath the floor of a European valley that may provide solid evidence to explain the fundamental nature of matter.

A world without nuclear weapons, widely considered a desirable if challenging goal over the long term, could pose new uncertainties and risks, experts from the United States and Japan said during a day-long symposium at AAAS.

The legal framework does not yet exist that would allow the pursuit of a nuclear-free world, they said. Nor has there been enough clear-headed analysis of the potentially de-stabilizing impact of a world with zero nuclear weapons where terrorists or rogue states might not play by the rules.

Despite solid gains in the quest to prevent nuclear materials from falling into the wrong hands, the world is not yet on track to secure all such materials in four years as advocated by the Obama administration, a Harvard University specialist on nuclear security says.

Matthew Bunn, an associate professor of public policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, told a AAAS-organized briefing on Capitol Hill that nuclear terrorism is an urgent issue that must be addressed at the highest levels of government.