Natalie Wolchover

Senior Writer/Editor

M theory and its six components
Abstractions blog

Why Is M-Theory the Leading Candidate for Theory of Everything?

December 18, 2017

The mother of all string theories passes a litmus test that, so far, no other candidate theory of quantum gravity has been able to match.

Plunge Into A (Virtual Reality) Black Hole
Multimedia

Plunge Into a (Virtual Reality) Black Hole

December 4, 2017

Join a fleet of robotic probes on a one-way virtual-reality trip into the abyss of a massive black hole.

Edward Witten in his office at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.
Q&A

A Physicist’s Physicist Ponders the Nature of Reality

November 28, 2017

Edward Witten reflects on the meaning of dualities in physics and math, emergent space-time, and the pursuit of a complete description of nature.

A projection showing how the positions of some 2 million stars measured by the Gaia satellite are expected to evolve in the future.
Abstractions blog

Deathblow Dealt to Dark Matter Disks

November 17, 2017

New data tracking the movements of millions of Milky Way stars have effectively ruled out the presence of a “dark disk” that could have offered important clues to the mystery of dark matter.

‘Crazy’ Supernova Looks Like a New Kind of Star Death
astrophysics

‘Crazy’ Supernova Looks Like a New Kind of Star Death

November 8, 2017

Astronomers are mystified by a strange star explosion in a distant galaxy that might be a relic from an earlier cosmological era.

Zoomable Universe - rectangular thumbnail
Multimedia

From the Edge of the Universe to the Inside of a Proton

November 6, 2017

The Zoomable Universe, a new book by the astrobiologist Caleb Scharf, the illustrator Ron Miller and 5W Infographics, tours the universe’s 62 orders of magnitude.

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.