Finishing a puzzle is as pleasurable as academic completing research, says neuroscientist

Daniel Bor claims 'pattern spotting' is something that can be immensely satisfying to both scientists and non-scientists alike

Finishing that last piece of a puzzle is as pleasurable as an academic completing a chunk of research, according to the neuroscientist Daniel Bor.

The University of Sussex doctor says 'pattern spotting' is something that can be immensely satisfying to both scientists and non-scientists alike - and both will be able to pit their wits from today in what promises to be one of the toughest puzzle challenges ever set.  

Physics World is celebrating its 25th anniversary by publishing the first of five perplexing tests devised by staff at the Government's Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). They will arrive in a number of different varieties, the first of which appears on the magazine's blog as a jumbled set of letters across three lines which need to be deciphered before arriving at a physics-themed answer.

GCHQ recently used a similar cryptic code that potential employees needed to crack if they wanted to join.

Those attempting the Physics World challenge may want to follow advice on the national listening post's website to get a head start. Their messages were encoded by rearranging the letters or words, or by adding extra letters - a technique called “padding” - and unusual letters like X and Z were often used.

The five puzzles coincide with a special issue of Physics World that looks back at some of the highlights in physics over the last 25 years and looks forward to where the subject is going next. The issue includes the editorial team's choice of the top five discoveries in fundamental physics over the last quarter of a century as well as the five best images from the same period that have allowed us to 'see' a physical phenomenon or effect.

Landmark discoveries include the accelerating expansion of the universe - for which the 2011 Nobel prize was awarded - and the sighting at CERN of the Higgs boson. Quantum teleportation, Bose-Einstein condensates and the experimental proof that neutrinos have mass make up the rest of the top five discoveries.

The jumbled set of letters that appeared on the Physics World blog The jumbled set of letters that appeared on the Physics World blog  

“We think the puzzles are going to really stretch even the brightest minds,” says Matin Durrani, editor of Physics World. “You won't need any physics to solve them, but they are certainly going to make you think and they're a fun way to celebrate our 25th anniversary. I also hope our top fives in the birthday issue of Physics World will remind everyone just how vital, enjoyable and interesting physics can be.”

Today's puzzle will be followed by another, progressively harder, one every Tuesday throughout October and participants will be able to submit their answers into the system/text box which will immediately tell them if they are right or wrong.

The only prize at stake is pride, but should competitors sail through the quintet of puzzles they may want to consider a career at GCHQ.

Defence Secretary Phillip Hammond announced at this week's Conservative Party conference that staff from the 'doughnut' will be working with the British army to develop a new cyber strike force.

Alternatively they might like to stick with a theme and turn their attentions to another, slightly tricker, unsolved physics problem - like identifying dark matter.

Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
The Pipes and Drums of The Scottish Regiments perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Commonwealth GamesThe actor encouraged the one billion viewers of the event to donate to the children's charity
Sport
Karen Dunbar performs
Entertainers showcase local wit, talent and irrepressible spirit
Sport
Members of the Scotland deleagtion walk past during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

BI Manager - £50,000

£49000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

BI Project Manager - £48,000 - £54,000 - Midlands

£48000 - £54000 per annum + Benefits package: Progressive Recruitment: My clie...

VB.Net Developer

£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: If you're pa...

SAP Business Consultant (SD, MM and FICO), £55,000, Wakefield

£45000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Business...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game