All Articles

particle physics

Grand Unification Dream Kept at Bay

December 15, 2016

Physicists have failed to find disintegrating protons, throwing into limbo the beloved theory that the forces of nature were unified at the beginning of time.

Illustration: sliced tooth showing tree rings
chronobiology

Teeth May Reveal a Multi-Day Biological Clock

December 13, 2016

Tiny lines laid down by tooth enamel appear to reveal a previously unknown biological rhythm. If confirmed, the finding could help researchers understand why big animals grow slower — and live longer — than small ones.

Janet Conrad by Kayana Szymczak
Q&A

On a Hunt for a Ghost of a Particle

December 8, 2016

Janet Conrad has a plan to catch the sterile neutrino — an elusive particle, possibly glimpsed by a number of experiments, that would upend what we know about the subatomic world.

Illustration: Viruses Find a New Way to Hijack Cells
viruses

Viruses Find a New Way to Hijack Cells

December 6, 2016

A virus that causes crippling birth defects has been shown to do something else: It changes thousands of messages coming from DNA that control normal cellular activities.

insights puzzle

Solution: ‘Hanging Far Out Over the Edge’

December 2, 2016

A simple and elegant way to stack identical flat objects so that they project over an edge as far as possible.

Warped time. Olena Shmahalo/Quanta Magazine
Abstractions blog

Quantum Gravity’s Time Problem

December 1, 2016

The effort to unify quantum mechanics and general relativity means reconciling totally different notions of time.

The helmet jellyfish (Periphylla periphylla) uses bioluminescence for defense.

In the Deep, Clues to How Life Makes Light

December 1, 2016

Bioluminescent organisms have evolved dozens of times over the course of life’s history. Recent studies are narrowing in on the complicated biochemistry needed to illuminate the dark.

Erik Verlinde by Ilvy Njiokiktjien for Quanta Magazine
gravity

The Case Against Dark Matter

November 29, 2016

A proposed theory of gravity does away with dark matter, even as new astrophysical findings challenge the need for galaxies full of the invisible mystery particles.

Q&A

How to Force Our Machines to Play Fair

November 23, 2016

The computer scientist Cynthia Dwork takes abstract concepts like privacy and fairness and adapts them into machine code for the algorithmic age.