Physics World reporter Tushna Commissariat told the BBC that making the list was "harder than choosing Nobel laureates," adding that there have been "so many eye-popping findings that our final choice is, inevitably, open to debate."
The magazine, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary, also published four other lists of five, two of which we've included here.
Here are the most important discoveries of the past 25 years, in chronological order:
- Quantum teleportation (1992)
- The creation of the first Bose-Einstein condensate (1995)
- The accelerating expansion of the universe (1997)
- Experimental proof that neutrinos have mass (1998)
- The sighting of the Higgs boson at Cern (2012)
Here five future discoveries that could change the world:
- Hadron therapy - targeting tumors with miniature, table-top particle accelerators.
- Quantum computing
- Graphene - for electronics and super-strong materials.
- Nanoscopic "superlenses" using evanescent light.
- Power on the go - kinetic energy harvesting using triboelectrics.
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