Natalie Wolchover

Senior Writer/Editor

Photograph of Saturn and its moons.
Mathematics

A New Tool to Help Mathematicians Pack

Improvements in how densely spheres and other shapes can be packed together could lead to advances in materials science, deep space communication and theoretical physics.

Trefoil vortex knot.
fluid dynamics

Could Knots Unravel Mysteries of Fluid Flow?

By investigating the central role played by knots in fluids and fields, physicists hope to unravel long-standing mysteries of turbulence.

Image of spiral staircase.
Mathematics

To Settle Infinity Dispute, a New Law of Logic

To determine the nature of infinity, mathematicians face a choice between two new logical axioms. What they decide could help shape the future of mathematical truth.

quantum gravity

Physicists Eye Quantum-Gravity Interface

Physicists have devised experiments that can probe the interface between quantum mechanics and general relativity.

Physics

Search Escalates for Key to Why Matter Exists

Physicists have completed a new round of searches for the answer to why matter dominates over antimatter. But the radioactive decay that would solve the puzzle is evading them.

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.

Physics

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.