What's up in
An Injection of Chaos Solves Decades-Old Fluid Mystery
In the 1960s, drillers noticed that certain fluids would firm up if they flowed too fast. Researchers have finally explained why.
The Year in Physics
Puzzling particles, quirky (and controversial) quantum computers, and one of the most ambitious science experiments in history marked the year’s milestones.
Detailed Footage Finally Reveals What Triggers Lightning
Scientists have never been able to adequately explain where lightning comes from. Now the first detailed observations of its emergence inside a cloud have exposed how electric fields grow strong enough to let bolts fly.
Cosmologists Parry Attacks on the Vaunted Cosmological Principle
A central pillar of cosmology — the universe is the same everywhere and in all directions — is surviving a storm of possible evidence against it.
Gravitational Waves Should Permanently Distort Space-Time
The “gravitational memory effect” predicts that a passing gravitational wave should forever alter the structure of space-time. Physicists have linked the phenomenon to fundamental cosmic symmetries and a potential solution to the black hole information paradox.
The Webb Space Telescope Will Rewrite Cosmic History. If It Works.
The James Webb Space Telescope has the potential to rewrite the history of the cosmos and reshape humanity’s position within it. But first, a lot of things have to work just right.
Quantum Simulators Create a Totally New Phase of Matter
One of the first goals of quantum computing has been to recreate bizarre quantum systems that can’t be studied in an ordinary computer. A dark-horse quantum simulator has now done just that.
The Algorithm That Lets Particle Physicists Count Higher Than Two
Through his encyclopedic study of the electron, an obscure figure named Stefano Laporta found a handle on the subatomic world’s fearsome complexity. His algorithm has swept the field.
How Quantum Computers Will Correct Their Errors
Quantum bits are fussy and fragile. Useful quantum computers will need to use an error-correction technique like the one that was recently demonstrated on a real machine.