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Physics

Edward Witten in his office at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.
Q&A

A Physicist’s Physicist Ponders the Nature of Reality

Edward Witten reflects on the meaning of dualities in physics and math, emergent space-time, and the pursuit of a complete description of nature.

An artist’s conception of the Vela Supercluster peeking out from behind the Milky Way’s Zone of Avoidance.
astrophysics

Hidden Supercluster Could Solve Milky Way Mystery

Astronomers generally stay away from the “Zone of Avoidance.” When one astronomer didn’t, she found a giant cosmic structure that could help explain why our galaxy moves so fast.

A projection showing how the positions of some 2 million stars measured by the Gaia satellite are expected to evolve in the future.
Abstractions blog

Deathblow Dealt to Dark Matter Disks

New data tracking the movements of millions of Milky Way stars have effectively ruled out the presence of a “dark disk” that could have offered important clues to the mystery of dark matter.

An artist’s view of a pulsar near the center of the Messier 82 galaxy.
astrophysics

Galactic Glow, Thought to Be Dark Matter, Now Hints at Hidden Pulsars

A number of high-energy anomalies raised hopes that astrophysicists had seen their first direct glimpses of dark matter. New studies suggest a different source may be responsible.

‘Crazy’ Supernova Looks Like a New Kind of Star Death
astrophysics

‘Crazy’ Supernova Looks Like a New Kind of Star Death

Astronomers are mystified by a strange star explosion in a distant galaxy that might be a relic from an earlier cosmological era.

Zoomable Universe - rectangular thumbnail
Multimedia

From the Edge of the Universe to the Inside of a Proton

The Zoomable Universe, a new book by the astrobiologist Caleb Scharf, the illustrator Ron Miller and 5W Infographics, tours the universe’s 62 orders of magnitude.

astrophysics

Squishy or Solid? A Neutron Star’s Insides Open to Debate

The core of a neutron star is such an extreme environment that physicists can’t agree on what happens inside. But a new space-based experiment — and a few more colliding neutron stars — should reveal whether neutrons themselves break down.

Artist’s rendering of merging neutron stars.
cosmology

Colliding Neutron Stars Could Settle the Biggest Debate in Cosmology

Newly discovered “standard sirens” provide an independent, clean way to measure how fast the universe is expanding.

A wormhole split in two with swirls of blue on one side and swirls of pink on the other with a ringed planet in the background.
theoretical physics

Newfound Wormhole Allows Information to Escape Black Holes

Physicists theorize that a new “traversable” kind of wormhole could resolve a baffling paradox and rescue information that falls into black holes.