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Physics

Quantum reconstruction
quantum mechanics

Quantum Theory Rebuilt From Simple Physical Principles

Physicists are trying to rewrite the axioms of quantum theory from scratch in an effort to understand what it all means. The problem? They’ve been almost too successful.

Abstractions blog

For Astronomers, Neutron Star Merger Could Eclipse Eclipse

Even as the solar eclipse was mesmerizing millions, astronomers were training their space- and land-based telescopes on a far more violent astrophysical event.

Neil Johnson
Q&A

A Physicist Who Models ISIS and the Alt-Right

The rise of new extremist groups has served as both an impetus and test-case for Neil Johnson’s models of terrorism and insurgency.

Svitlana Mayboroda
mathematical physics

Mathematicians Tame Rogue Waves, Lighting Up Future of LEDs

The mathematician Svitlana Mayboroda and collaborators have figured out how to predict the behavior of electrons — a mathematical discovery that could have immediate practical effects.

Jay Pasachoff
Q&A

Eclipse Hunter Reveals the Science That Can Only Be Done in the Dark

Even in the age of sun-observing satellites, astronomers like Jay Pasachoff still seek out total solar eclipses for the tales they can tell about our sun.

Illustration: window showing dark matter map
cosmology

Scientists Unveil New Inventory of Universe’s Dark Contents

The first major results from the Dark Energy Survey signal the start of a new era of cosmology.

planetary science

What Made the Moon? New Ideas Try to Rescue a Troubled Theory

Textbooks say that the moon was formed after a Mars-size mass smashed the young Earth. But new evidence has cast doubt on that story, leaving researchers to dream up new ways to get a giant rock into orbit.

Abstractions blog

Cookie-Cutter Supernovas Might Come in Different Flavors

Astronomers thought that all Type Ia supernovas shine with the same brightness, making them incredibly useful cosmic yardsticks. But uncertainty over what causes these explosions has led researchers to reconsider their assumptions.

Andrea Ghez in Hawaii
Q&A

Black-Hole Hunter Takes Aim at Einstein

The astrophysicist Andrea Ghez spent two decades proving that a supermassive black hole anchors the center of the Milky Way galaxy. Her new plan? Test what happens when things get too close.