Natalie Wolchover

Senior Writer/Editor

An illustration of a chaotic scene of spheres representing quarks and gluons.
Abstractions blog

Physicists Finally Nail the Proton’s Size, and Hope Dies

September 11, 2019

A new measurement appears to have eliminated an anomaly that had captivated physicists for nearly a decade.

An illustration of an extra-large black hole.
Abstractions blog

Possible Detection of a Black Hole So Big It ‘Should Not Exist’

August 28, 2019

At stake are fundamental ideas about how black holes form — and a six-way bet.

An illustration of the cosmologists Wendy Freedman and Adam Riess debating the expansion rate of the universe at a recent meeting at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics in Santa Barbara, California.

Cosmologists Debate How Fast the Universe Is Expanding

August 8, 2019

New measurements could upend the standard theory of the cosmos that has reigned since the discovery of dark energy 21 years ago.


The Universal Law That Aims Time’s Arrow

August 1, 2019

A new look at a ubiquitous phenomenon has uncovered unexpected fractal behavior that could give us clues about the early universe and the arrow of time.

Abstractions blog

How (Relatively) Simple Symmetries Underlie Our Expanding Universe

July 15, 2019

Although Einstein’s theory of space-time seems more complicated than Newtonian physics, it greatly simplified the mathematical description of the universe.

Abstractions blog

Philosophers Debate New ‘Sonic Black Hole’ Discovery

June 25, 2019

Opinions differ about what recent measurements of a sound-trapping fluid reveal about light-trapping black holes.


Physicists Debate Hawking’s Idea That the Universe Had No Beginning

June 6, 2019

A recent challenge to Stephen Hawking’s biggest idea — about how the universe might have come from nothing — has cosmologists choosing sides.

Art for "The Sun Is Stranger Than Astrophysicists Imagined"

The Sun Is Stranger Than Astrophysicists Imagined

May 1, 2019

The sun radiates far more high-frequency light than expected, raising questions about unknown features of the sun’s magnetic field and the possibility of even more exotic physics.

Art for "Scientists Discover Exotic New Patterns of Synchronization"

Scientists Discover Exotic New Patterns of Synchronization

April 4, 2019

In a world seemingly filled with chaos, physicists have discovered new forms of synchronization and are learning how to predict and control them.