Natalie Wolchover

Senior Writer

theoretical physics

At Multiverse Impasse, a New Theory of Scale

Physicists have begun to explore the idea that mass and length may not be fundamental properties of nature. The hypothesis could help to avoid the conclusion that our world is just a weird bubble in an endlessly foaming multiverse.

2014 Fields Medal and Nevanlinna Prize Winners

In Noisy Equations, One Who Heard Music

Martin Hairer was named a 2014 Fields medalist for an epic masterpiece in stochastic analysis that colleagues say “created a whole world.”

Boucing droplet
quantum mechanics

Fluid Tests Hint at Concrete Quantum Reality

Surprising oil drop experiments suggest that the quantum world may not be as strange as advertised.


In a Grain, a Glimpse of the Cosmos

When scientists traced a museum rock back to its origins, they uncovered mysteries about the early solar system.

Efimov trimers.

Physicists Prove Surprising Rule of Threes

Three groups of experimentalists have independently observed a strange state of matter that forms from three particles of any type and at any scale, from practically infinitesimal to infinite.

quantum computing

Forging a Qubit to Rule Them All

A scientist at Bell Labs has started construction of a topological qubit, which could be the building block of a robust, scalable quantum computer.

Levitating superconductor.
condensed matter physics

Decoding the Secrets of Superconductivity

Experimentalists have pinpointed the microscopic structure of waves inside high-temperature superconductors, which could be the key to understanding the complex materials.

The arrow of time.

Time’s Arrow Traced to Quantum Source

A new theory explains the seemingly irreversible arrow of time while yielding insights into entropy, quantum computers, black holes, and the past-future divide.

Bicep2 B-modes

Possible Echo of Big Bang Detected

Scientists report the possible discovery of primordial gravitational waves, ripples in space-time that carry a record of how the universe began.