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cosmology

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.

A pink beam at the center of a metallic experimental apparatus.
Abstractions blog

Physicists Pin Down Nuclear Reaction From Moments After the Big Bang

November 11, 2020

The newly-measured rate of a key nuclear fusion process from the Big Bang matches the picture of the universe 380,000 years later.

Cora Dvorkin in front of a starry backdrop.
Hidden Structure

The Cosmologist Who Dreams in the Universe’s Dark Threads

November 5, 2020

Cora Dvorkin discovered new possibilities for what dark matter could be. Now she’s devising unorthodox ways to identify it.

Hidden Structure

The Hidden Structure of the Universe

October 22, 2020

Our new series of articles explores the search for fundamental structure at the edge of science.

Stringy filaments wiggling against a black background.
Abstractions blog

Some Physicists See Signs of Cosmic Strings From the Big Bang

September 29, 2020

Subtle aberrations in the clockwork blinking of stars could become “the result of the century.” That’s if the distortions are produced by a network of giant filaments left over from the birth of the universe.

Black holes of various sizes
black holes

Physicists Argue That Black Holes From the Big Bang Could Be the Dark Matter

September 23, 2020

It was an old idea of Stephen Hawking’s: Unseen “primordial” black holes might be the hidden dark matter. A new series of studies has shown how the theory can work.

Distorted galaxies
Abstractions blog

A New Cosmic Tension: The Universe Might Be Too Thin

September 8, 2020

Cosmologists have concluded that the universe doesn’t appear to clump as much as it should. Could both of cosmology’s big puzzles share a single fix?

The cyclic universe.
Abstractions blog

Big Bounce Simulations Challenge the Big Bang

August 4, 2020

Detailed computer simulations have found that a cosmic contraction can generate features of the universe that we observe today.