Natalie Wolchover

Senior Writer/Editor

Illustration of a bunny hiding around a corner
algorithms

The New Science of Seeing Around Corners

August 30, 2018

Computer vision researchers have uncovered a world of visual signals hiding in our midst, including subtle motions that betray what’s being said and faint images of what’s around a corner.

Art for "Dark Energy May Be Incompatible With String Theory"
theoretical physics

Dark Energy May Be Incompatible With String Theory

August 9, 2018

A controversial new paper argues that universes with dark energy profiles like ours do not exist in the “landscape” of universes allowed by string theory.

Photo of Cohl Furey
fundamental physics

The Peculiar Math That Could Underlie the Laws of Nature

July 20, 2018

New findings are fueling an old suspicion that fundamental particles and forces spring from strange eight-part numbers called “octonions.”

Photo of the sun
Abstractions blog

What Is the Sun Made Of and When Will It Die?

July 5, 2018

If and when physicists are able to pin down the metal content of the sun, that number could upend much of what we thought we knew about the evolution and life span of stars.

Illustration of a galaxy simulation.
cosmology

The Universe Is Not a Simulation, but We Can Now Simulate It

June 12, 2018

Computer simulations have become so accurate that cosmologists can now use them to study dark matter, supermassive black holes and other mysteries of the real evolving cosmos.

Victoria Meadows in her garden with her cockatoo.
Thinking Places

Victoria Meadows’ Earthly Visions of Alien Life

June 5, 2018

A living, breathing garden in Seattle serves as the perfect backdrop to an astrobiologist’s search for life on faraway planets.

Photo of inside the MiniBooNE tank
Abstractions blog

Evidence Found for a New Fundamental Particle

June 1, 2018

An experiment at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Chicago has detected far more electron neutrinos than predicted — a possible harbinger of a revolutionary new elementary particle called the sterile neutrino, though many physicists remain skeptical.

Crystal diffraction art for "A Chemist Shines Light on a Surprising Prime Number Pattern"
prime numbers

A Chemist Shines Light on a Surprising Prime Number Pattern

May 14, 2018

When a crystallographer treated prime numbers as a system of particles, the resulting diffraction pattern created a new view of existing conjectures in number theory.

Photo of Large Magellan Cloud rotating clockwise.
Abstractions blog

What Astronomers Are Learning From Gaia’s New Milky Way Map

May 8, 2018

A roundup of some of the most important discoveries gleaned so far from the Gaia space observatory’s new map of the galaxy.