I hear a lot of people talk about how physics has hit a dry spell in recent decades, but I don't know whether I'm convinced. But I have to admit that whenever people talk about the history of physics, I rarely hear about any significant discoveries beyond the early to mid twentieth century. You don't hear about much on the timescale of, say, 1980-2012 (which should cover the lifetime of most physics students, just for relevance). The only things that really come to mind would be dark matter and dark energy, and I get the impression that not much has happened there except "Well, they exist." And particle physics seems to be more about confirming predictions right now than discovering things. Maybe these impressions are wrong, so please correct me if so. But my point is, what else has been going on? Note that by discovery I mean empirically verified, as opposed to untested theories, which I'm sure are prolific. What have been some of the biggest physics discoveries of recent decades?