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Victoria Meadows in her garden with her cockatoo.
Thinking Places

Victoria Meadows’ Earthly Visions of Alien Life

A living, breathing garden in Seattle serves as the perfect backdrop to an astrobiologist’s search for life on faraway planets.

Plunge Into A (Virtual Reality) Black Hole
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Plunge Into a (Virtual Reality) Black Hole

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

Red slime mold
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Seeing the Beautiful Intelligence of Microbes

Bacterial biofilms and slime molds are more than crude patches of goo. Detailed time-lapse microscopy reveals how they sense and explore their surroundings, communicate with their neighbors and adaptively reshape themselves.

Zoomable Universe - rectangular thumbnail
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From the Edge of the Universe to the Inside of a Proton

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.

Dr. Jason Morgan, a geophysicist, poses for a portrait in Guyot Hall, home of the geosciences department at Princeton University. He has since retired and moved to Boston, where he is a visiting scholar at Harvard. The steps in the stairwell are made of Serpentine rock, which is formed in the Earth's mantle.
Thinking Places

Jason Morgan Recalls Discovering Earth’s Tectonic Plates

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

Janet Conrad
Thinking Places

Janet Conrad, Seeker of Neutrinos and Other Curiosities

The physicist and curios collector hopes to reveal the hidden structure lurking in the subatomic world.

Joe Polchinsky at the Kavli Institute
Thinking Places

Joe Polchinski’s Restless Pursuit of Quantum Gravity

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

Eva Silverstein at Stanford University
Thinking Places

Eva Silverstein’s Spirals and Strings

Daily bike rides, serendipitous interactions and long periods of solo thinking inspire this string cosmologist.

Subhash Khot
Thinking Places

Subhash Khot, Playing Unique Games in Washington Square Park

The theoretical computer scientist behind the influential Unique Games Conjecture delights in the wonders of New York’s Washington Square Park, where he ponders the impossible.