Natalie Wolchover

Senior Writer/Editor

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.

cosmology

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.

Physics

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.

Physics

Solid or Liquid? Physicists Redefine States of Matter

Glass and other strange materials have long confounded textbook definitions of what it means to be solid. Now, two groups of physicists propose a new solution to the riddle.

networks

Treading Softly in a Connected World

In an increasingly interconnected world, scientists are seeking safeguards against catastrophic cascades of failure like stock market crashes and widespread blackouts.

cosmology

Peering Into the Early Universe

Three “extremely large telescopes” poised to begin observations within a decade could help answer some of the universe’s oldest and best-kept secrets.