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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.

A central pillar of cosmology — the universe is the same everywhere and in all directions — is surviving a storm of possible evidence against it.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

In nonreciprocal systems, where Newton’s third law falls apart, “exceptional points” are helping researchers understand phase transitions and possibly other phenomena.

Physicists are translating commonsense principles into strict mathematical constraints on how our universe must have behaved at the beginning of time.