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Physics

string theory

The Strange Second Life of String Theory

String theory has so far failed to live up to its promise as a way to unite gravity and quantum mechanics. At the same time, it has blossomed into one of the most useful sets of tools in science.

Abstractions blog

From Gaia, a Twinkling Treasure Trove

The first star map from the ESA’s Gaia space telescope is poised to revolutionize our understanding of the Milky Way galaxy.

Abstractions blog

Responding Rapidly to Big Discoveries

How do scientists react to major breaking science news? For astrophysicists after the big gravitational waves announcement, it was meeting for two weeks in Santa Barbara, California.

astrophysics

Colliding Black Holes Tell New Story of Stars

Just months after their discovery, gravitational waves coming from the mergers of black holes are shaking up astrophysics.

Q&A

A Seeker of Dark Matter’s Hidden Light

The astrophysicist Tracy Slatyer is searching for faint wisps of dark matter annihilating in the early universe — and perhaps in hiding places closer to home.

Signatories of a bet placed in 2011.
Abstractions blog

Supersymmetry Bet Settled With Cognac

The absence of supersymmetry particles at the Large Hadron Collider has settled a 16-year-old bet among physicists.

Abstractions blog

New Measurement Deepens Proton Puzzle

A discrepancy in the measured size of the “deuteron” increases the chance that something is amiss in our understanding of atoms.

particle physics

What No New Particles Means for Physics

Physicists are confronting their “nightmare scenario.” What does the absence of new particles suggest about how nature works?

Q&A

Moonshine Master Toys With String Theory

The physicist-mathematician Miranda Cheng is working to harness a mysterious connection between string theory, algebra and number theory.