Charlie Wood

Contributing Writer

Graphic of swirling vortex-like patterns called skyrmions.
condensed matter physics

A New Twist Reveals Superconductivity’s Secrets

March 16, 2021

An unexpected superconductor was beginning to look like a fluke, but a new theory and a second discovery have revealed that emergent quasiparticles may be behind the effect.

A house of cards propped up by a letter i, the unit of imaginary numbers.
quantum physics

Imaginary Numbers May Be Essential for Describing Reality

March 3, 2021

A new thought experiment indicates that quantum mechanics doesn’t work without strange numbers that turn negative when squared.

Close-up photograph of a soap bubble with a spot on it that looks as though it must have come from a collision.
Abstractions blog

Physicists Study How Universes Might Bubble Up and Collide

January 25, 2021

Since they can’t prod actual universes as they inflate and bump into each other in the hypothetical multiverse, physicists are studying digital and physical analogs of the process.

The Milky Way galaxy shown in X-rays.
Abstractions blog

Galaxy-Size Bubbles Discovered Towering Over the Milky Way

January 6, 2021

For decades, astronomers debated whether a particular smudge was close-by and small, or distant and huge. A new X-ray map supports the massive option.

A computer simulation of two galaxies colliding.
astrophysics

The New History of the Milky Way

December 15, 2020

Over the past two years, astronomers have rewritten the story of our galaxy.

Infographic showing the ranges of possible masses of WIMPs, axions, ultralight dark matter, sub-GeV dark matter and primordial black holes, which are five different candidates for dark matter.
Abstractions blog

The Search for Dark Matter Is Dramatically Expanding

November 23, 2020

Physicists plan to leave no stone unturned, checking whether dark matter tickles different types of detectors, nudges starlight, warms planetary cores or even lodges in rocks.

A pair of diamonds press from opposite directions against a black metal gasket containing a hydrogen-carbon-sulfur compound.
Abstractions blog

Room-Temperature Superconductivity Achieved for the First Time

October 14, 2020

Physicists have reached a long-sought goal. The catch is that their room-temperature superconductor requires crushing pressures to keep from falling apart.

water molecules, droplets and a wave
Abstractions blog

How Mathematical ‘Hocus-Pocus’ Saved Particle Physics

September 17, 2020

Renormalization has become perhaps the single most important advance in theoretical physics in 50 years.

Distorted galaxies
Abstractions blog

A New Cosmic Tension: The Universe Might Be Too Thin

September 8, 2020

Cosmologists have concluded that the universe doesn’t appear to clump as much as it should. Could both of cosmology’s big puzzles share a single fix?

About the author

Charlie Wood is a journalist covering developments in the physical sciences both on and off the planet. His work has appeared in Scientific American, The Christian Science Monitor and LiveScience, among other publications. Previously, he taught physics and English in Mozambique and Japan, and he has a bachelor’s in physics from Brown University.