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Physics

Historical star chart of the constellation Monoceros.
Abstractions blog

‘Unicorn’ Discovery Points to a New Population of Black Holes

January 27, 2021

Small black holes were nowhere to be found, leading astronomers to wonder if they didn’t exist at all. Now a series of findings, including a “unicorn” black hole, has raised hopes of solving the decade-long mystery.

Close-up photograph of a soap bubble with a spot on it that looks as though it must have come from a collision.
Abstractions blog

Physicists Study How Universes Might Bubble Up and Collide

January 25, 2021

Since they can’t prod actual universes as they inflate and bump into each other in the hypothetical multiverse, physicists are studying digital and physical analogs of the process.

Abstractions blog

Secret Ingredient Found to Power Supernovas

January 21, 2021

Three-dimensional supernova simulations have solved the mystery of why they explode at all.

Photo of Darden sitting on her couch and smiling
Q&A

The NASA Engineer Who’s a Mathematician at Heart

January 19, 2021

Christine Darden worked at NASA for 40 years, helping make supersonic planes quieter and forging a path for women to follow in her footsteps.

Q&A

A Prodigy Who Cracked Open the Cosmos

January 12, 2021

Frank Wilczek has been at the forefront of theoretical physics for the past 50 years. He talks about winning the Nobel Prize for work he did as a student, his solution to the dark matter problem, and the God of a scientist.

The Milky Way galaxy shown in X-rays.
Abstractions blog

Galaxy-Size Bubbles Discovered Towering Over the Milky Way

January 6, 2021

For decades, astronomers debated whether a particular smudge was close-by and small, or distant and huge. A new X-ray map supports the massive option.

2020 in Review

Our Favorite Comments of the Year

December 23, 2020

Online comment platforms can bring out the best — and the worst — in people. At the end of a tumultuous year, Quanta’s editors highlight some of our favorite things you had to say.

2020 in Review

The Year in Physics

December 23, 2020

Featuring paradoxical black holes, room-temperature superconductors and a new escape from the prison of time.

Abstractions blog

Astronomers Get Their Wish, and a Cosmic Crisis Gets Worse

December 17, 2020

We don’t know why the universe appears to be expanding faster than it should. New ultra-precise distance measurements have only intensified the problem.