Natalie Wolchover

Senior Writer

Q&A

A Cosmic-Ray Hunter Takes to the Sky

Angela Olinto’s new balloon experiment takes her one step closer to the unknown source of the most energetic particles in the universe.

Abstractions blog

Physicists Attack Math’s $1,000,000 Question

Physicists are attempting to map the distribution of the prime numbers to the energy levels of a particular quantum system.

Thomas Royen at his home in Schwalbach am Taunus, Germany.
statistics

A Long-Sought Proof, Found and Almost Lost

When a German retiree proved a famous long-standing mathematical conjecture, the response was underwhelming.

Illustration: Yves Meyer and his wavelet
Abstractions blog

Yves Meyer, Wavelet Expert, Wins Abel Prize

The French mathematician was cited “for his pivotal role in the development of the mathematical theory of wavelets.”

Abstractions blog

19 Women Leading Math and Physics

Top women in mathematics and physics discuss how they got to where they are — and why there aren’t more of them.

Q&A

‘Digital Alchemist’ Seeks Rules of Emergence

Computational physicist Sharon Glotzer is uncovering the rules by which complex collective phenomena emerge from simple building blocks.

animated gif of a fractal tunnel
theoretical physics

Physicists Uncover Geometric ‘Theory Space’

A decades-old method called the “bootstrap” is enabling new discoveries about the geometry underlying all quantum theories.

Particle measurement GIF illustration
quantum mechanics

Experiment Reaffirms Quantum Weirdness

Physicists are closing the door on an intriguing loophole around the quantum phenomenon Einstein called “spooky action at a distance.”

Photo of raindrops on a window by Philip Kraaijenbrink
Abstractions blog

Droplets That ‘Come to Life’

Life might have originated in droplets that behave surprisingly like living cells.