Joshua Sokol

Contributing Correspondent

astrophysics

Squishy or Solid? A Neutron Star’s Insides Open to Debate

The core of a neutron star is such an extreme environment that physicists can’t agree on what happens inside. But a new space-based experiment — and a few more colliding neutron stars — should reveal whether neutrons themselves break down.

Abstractions blog

For Astronomers, Neutron Star Merger Could Eclipse Eclipse

Even as the solar eclipse was mesmerizing millions, astronomers were training their space- and land-based telescopes on a far more violent astrophysical event.

Andrea Ghez in Hawaii
Q&A

Black-Hole Hunter Takes Aim at Einstein

The astrophysicist Andrea Ghez spent two decades proving that a supermassive black hole anchors the center of the Milky Way galaxy. Her new plan? Test what happens when things get too close.

Jessica Flack
Q&A

How Nature Solves Problems Through Computation

The evolutionary biologist Jessica Flack seeks the computational rules that groups of organisms use to solve problems.

Is a spiderweb part of the animal’s mind?
cognitive science

The Thoughts of a Spiderweb

Spiders appear to offload cognitive tasks to their webs, making them one of a number of species with a mind that isn’t fully confined within the head.

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.

astrophysics

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.
Q&A

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.

astrophysics

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.