Natalie Wolchover

Senior Writer/Editor

Artist’s rendering of merging neutron stars.
cosmology

Colliding Neutron Stars Could Settle the Biggest Debate in Cosmology

October 25, 2017

Newly discovered “standard sirens” provide an independent, clean way to measure how fast the universe is expanding.

A wormhole split in two with swirls of blue on one side and swirls of pink on the other with a ringed planet in the background.
theoretical physics

Newfound Wormhole Allows Information to Escape Black Holes

October 23, 2017

Physicists theorize that a new “traversable” kind of wormhole could resolve a baffling paradox and rescue information that falls into black holes.

LIGO
Abstractions blog

LIGO Architects Win Nobel Prize in Physics

October 3, 2017

The American physicists Rainer Weiss, Kip Thorne and Barry Barish were honored for dreaming up and realizing the experiment that confirmed the existence of gravitational waves.

Information dog bottleneck
Wired to Learn: The Next AI

New Theory Cracks Open the Black Box of Deep Learning

September 21, 2017

A new idea is helping to explain the puzzling success of today’s artificial-intelligence algorithms — and might also explain how human brains learn.

Thinking Places

Jason Morgan Recalls Discovering Earth’s Tectonic Plates

August 28, 2017

Jason Morgan developed the theory of plate tectonics in 1967 while working among a critical mass of talented geophysicists at Princeton University.

Neil Johnson
Q&A

A Physicist Who Models ISIS and the Alt-Right

August 23, 2017

The rise of new extremist groups has served as both an impetus and test-case for Neil Johnson’s models of terrorism and insurgency.

Joe Polchinsky at the Kavli Institute
Thinking Places

Joe Polchinski’s Restless Pursuit of Quantum Gravity

August 7, 2017

The pot-stirring string theorist and quantum gravity theorist never sits still for long.

Illustration: window showing dark matter map
cosmology

Scientists Unveil New Inventory of Universe’s Dark Contents

August 3, 2017

The first major results from the Dark Energy Survey signal the start of a new era of cosmology.

origins of life

First Support for a Physics Theory of Life

July 26, 2017

Take chemistry, add energy, get life. The first tests of Jeremy England’s provocative origin-of-life hypothesis are in, and they appear to show how order can arise from nothing.