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Neutron-scattering image of a “spin ice” material created in 2009 that contains particles analogous to magnetic monopoles.
Abstractions blog

Can Analogies Reveal the Laws of Physics?

So-called “analogue experiments” are becoming increasingly common in physics, but do they teach or mislead?

Abstractions blog

Why (Almost) Everyone Was Wrong

The results of this year’s presidential election made a mockery of analytical election forecast modelers.

A petri dish with an array of mutant yeast strains.
Abstractions blog

Why Some Genetic Miscues Are Helpful

A new look at the reasons why organisms missing pairs of genes sometimes do much better than normal.

Abstractions blog

The Cell’s Backup Genetic Instructions

The cell is equipped with multiple redundancies in case something goes wrong. Researchers have begun to map these systems.

Abstractions blog

Science Evolves. Will Science Education?

Science is a constantly changing, self-correcting process. Why do we teach it as a collection of old, settled facts?

Abstractions blog

Nobel Prize Awarded for Quantum Topology

Three physicists have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for rewriting our understanding of exotic quantum states on the surfaces of materials.

Abstractions blog

Off-the-Shelf Lens Assists Dark Matter Find

A camera lens often used by wildlife and sports photographers has helped astronomers learn about dark matter and galaxy formation.

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.