Natalie Wolchover

Senior Writer/Editor

An interactive illustration of shapes hiding clocks.

Cosmic Triangles Open a Window to the Origin of Time

October 29, 2019

A close look at fundamental symmetries has exposed hidden patterns in the universe. Physicists think that those same symmetries may also reveal time’s original secret.

An illustration of a planet in front of a star.
Abstractions blog

Physics Nobel Honors Early Universe and Exoplanet Discoveries

October 8, 2019

The astronomers Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz won half of the prize for their 1995 discovery of a Jupiter-like planet orbiting a nearby star. The cosmologist James Peebles won the other half for work exploring the structure of the universe.

Stephanie Wehner in a red suit standing in a glass-paneled corridor at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. Her reflection appears in the glass to the right and left.

To Invent a Quantum Internet

September 25, 2019

Fifty years after the current internet was born, the physicist and computer scientist Stephanie Wehner is planning and designing the next internet — a quantum one.

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

A Black Hole So Big It ‘Should Not Exist’

August 28, 2019

Researchers have confirmed rumors of a black hole collision that challenges our ideas about how black holes form.

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.