Natalie Wolchover

Senior Writer/Editor

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.


‘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.

Illustration: Dividing Droplets

Dividing Droplets Could Explain Life’s Origin

Researchers have discovered that simple “chemically active” droplets grow to the size of cells and spontaneously divide, suggesting they might have evolved into the first living cells.

Earth scientists hope that their growing knowledge of the planet’s early history will shed light on poorly understood features seen today, from continents to geysers.

Explorers Find Passage to Earth’s Dark Age

Geochemical signals from deep inside Earth are beginning to shed light on the planet’s first 50 million years, a formative period long viewed as inaccessible to science.

particle physics

Grand Unification Dream Kept at Bay

Physicists have failed to find disintegrating protons, throwing into limbo the beloved theory that the forces of nature were unified at the beginning of time.

Warped time. Olena Shmahalo/Quanta Magazine
Abstractions blog

Quantum Gravity’s Time Problem

The effort to unify quantum mechanics and general relativity means reconciling totally different notions of time.