Natalie Wolchover

Senior Writer

Data Driven: The New Big Science

A Digital Copy of the Universe, Encrypted

As physics prepares for ambitious projects like the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, the field is seeking new methods of data-driven discovery.

Illustration of an amplituhedron.
theoretical physics

A Jewel at the Heart of Quantum Physics

Physicists have discovered a jewel-shaped geometric object that challenges the notion that space and time are fundamental constituents of nature.


Physicists Close In on ‘Perfect’ Optical Lens

Researchers are making progress toward a “perfect lens” that will be able to resolve an organelle assembling a protein or a virus attacking a cell.

computer science

Evidence That Machines Learn Like Us

Studies show that computer models called “neural networks” behave strikingly similar to actual brains when performing certain tasks, suggesting the two may learn in the same way.

string theory

A Strange Side to Nature

New findings suggest that beneath the surface of quantum theory lies a vibrant string theory world where some matter corresponds to black holes in higher dimensions.


Lopsided Map Offers Clues to Big Bang

Theoretical cosmologists are piecing together a cosmic origin story from a surprising anomaly in the recently released Planck satellite image.

theoretical physics

Is Nature Unnatural?

Decades of confounding experiments have physicists considering a startling possibility: The universe might not make sense.


Perpetual Motion Test Could Amend Theory of Time

A radical theory predicting the existence of “time crystals” — perpetual motion objects that break the symmetry of time — is being put to the test.

climate science

The Ocean’s Dynamic Role in Climate Change

New data collected by mathematicians and oceanographers in the frigid waters of the Southern Ocean could dramatically improve climate models.