Joshua Sokol

Contributing Correspondent

Andrea Ghez in Hawaii
Q&A

Black-Hole Hunter Takes Aim at Einstein

July 27, 2017

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

July 6, 2017

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

May 23, 2017

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

May 10, 2017

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

March 23, 2017

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

December 20, 2016

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

September 27, 2016

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.

Q&A

A Seeker of Dark Matter’s Hidden Light

September 1, 2016

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.

Q&A

Mining Black Hole Collisions for New Physics

July 21, 2016

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