Joshua Sokol

Contributing Correspondent

Abstractions blog

Exoplanet Puzzle Cracked by Jazz Musicians

A system of seven Earth-like exoplanets appeared to be unstable. Now their orbits have been rewritten in the music of the spheres.


A New Blast May Have Forged Cosmic Gold

For decades, researchers believed that violent supernovas forged gold and other heavy elements. But many now argue for a different cosmic quarry.

Elena Aprile in her lab at Columbia University.

In the Deep, a Drive to Find Dark Matter

Elena Aprile now leads the world’s most sensitive dark-matter search. But before she could build her first detector, she had to make herself out of titanium.


Strange Dark Galaxy Puzzles Astrophysicists

The surprising discovery of a massive, Milky Way–size galaxy that is made of 99.99 percent dark matter has astronomers dreaming up new ideas about how galaxies form.


A Seeker of Dark Matter’s Hidden Light

The astrophysicist Tracy Slatyer is searching for faint wisps of dark matter annihilating in the early universe — and perhaps in hiding places closer to home.


Mining Black Hole Collisions for New Physics

The physicist Asimina Arvanitaki is thinking up ways to search gravitational wave data for evidence of dark matter particles orbiting black holes.

Inside this chamber, silica spheres probe for hidden extra dimensions, distortions of gravity, and dark-matter particles. | Peter DaSilva for Quanta Magazine
experimental physics

Tiny Tests Seek the Universe’s Big Mysteries

The search for exotic new physical phenomena is being led by huge experiments like the Large Hadron Collider. But at the other end of the spectrum lie tabletop experiments — small-scale probes of hidden dimensions, dark matter and dark energy.