Natalie Wolchover

Senior Writer/Editor

Rainer Weiss
Thinking Places

Rainer Weiss, Remembering the Little Room in the Plywood Palace

The physicist who designed the LIGO experiment that detected gravitational waves still holes up in a small basement lab surrounded by electronics and optical instruments.

Man emerging from particals climbing monolith
consciousness

A Theory of Reality as More Than the Sum of Its Parts

New math shows how, contrary to conventional scientific wisdom, conscious beings and other macroscopic entities might have greater influence over the future than do the sum of their microscopic components.

Black hole merger
Abstractions blog

Latest Black Hole Collision Comes With a Twist

The Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory’s third detection further compounds the mystery of why black holes collide.

Journey to the Birth of the Solar System
Multimedia

Journey to the Birth of the Solar System

Join David Kaplan on a virtual-reality tour showing how the sun, the Earth and the other planets came to be.

information theory

The Quantum Thermodynamics Revolution

As physicists extend the 19th-century laws of thermodynamics to the quantum realm, they’re rewriting the relationships among energy, entropy and information.

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.”