Philip Ball

Contributing Writer

quantum physics

Quantum Darwinism, an Idea to Explain Objective Reality, Passes First Tests

July 22, 2019

Three experiments have vetted quantum Darwinism, a theory that explains how quantum possibilities can give rise to objective, classical reality.

Abstractions blog

The Quantum Theory That Peels Away the Mystery of Measurement

July 3, 2019

A recent test has confirmed the predictions of quantum trajectory theory.

Art for "Quantum Leaps, Long Assumed to Be Instantaneous, Take Time"
quantum physics

Quantum Leaps, Long Assumed to Be Instantaneous, Take Time

June 5, 2019

An experiment caught a quantum system in the middle of a jump — something the originators of quantum mechanics assumed was impossible.

Art for "Neuroscience Readies for a Showdown Over Consciousness Ideas"
neuroscience

Neuroscience Readies for a Showdown Over Consciousness Ideas

March 6, 2019

To make headway on the mystery of consciousness, some researchers are trying a rigorous new way to test competing theories.

Art for "Mysterious Quantum Rule Reconstructed from Scratch"
quantum physics

Mysterious Quantum Rule Reconstructed From Scratch

February 13, 2019

The new work promises to give researchers a better grip on the core mystery of quantum mechanics.

Art for "Why the Many-Worlds Interpretation Has Many Problems"
quantum physics

Why the Many-Worlds Interpretation Has Many Problems

October 18, 2018

The idea that the universe splits into multiple realities with every measurement has become an increasingly popular proposed solution to the mysteries of quantum mechanics. But this “many-worlds interpretation” is incoherent, Philip Ball argues in this adapted excerpt from his new book Beyond Weird.

Illustration for "Real-Life Schrödinger’s Cats Probe the Boundary of the Quantum World"
quantum physics

Real-Life Schrödinger’s Cats Probe the Boundary of the Quantum World

June 25, 2018

Recent experiments have put relatively large objects into quantum states, illuminating the processes by which the ordinary world emerges out of the quantum one.

Photo of Michela Massimi
Q&A

Questioning Truth, Reality and the Role of Science

May 24, 2018

In an era when untestable ideas such as the multiverse hold sway, Michela Massimi defends science from those who think it hopelessly unmoored from physical reality.

520 px illustration of a quantum computer producing errors
The Future of Quantum Computing

The Era of Quantum Computing Is Here. Outlook: Cloudy

January 24, 2018

Quantum computers should soon be able to beat classical computers at certain basic tasks. But before they’re truly powerful, researchers have to overcome a number of fundamental roadblocks.

About the author

Philip Ball is a science writer and author based in London who contributes frequently to Nature, New Scientist, Prospect, Nautilus and The Atlantic, among other publications. His books include Bright Earth, Invisible and most recently, The Water Kingdom.