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Valeria Pettorino in the woods near CosmoStat

An Italian Cosmologist Who Wanders in Dante’s Dark Wood

A scientist and programmer with a literary bent, Valeria Pettorino thinks multiple angles and diverse points of view are needed to unriddle the nature of dark matter and dark energy.

Art for "A Short History of the Missing Universe"
Abstractions blog

A Short History of the Missing Universe

Astronomers have known where the universe’s missing matter has been hiding for the past 20 years. So why did it take so long to find it?

Abstractions blog

A New Test for the Leading Big Bang Theory

Cosmologists have predicted the existence of an oscillating signal that could distinguish between cosmic inflation and alternative theories of the universe’s birth.


The Last of the Universe’s Ordinary Matter Has Been Found

For decades, astronomers weren’t able to find all of the atomic matter in the universe. A series of recent papers has revealed where it’s been hiding.

Art for "Dark Energy May Be Incompatible With String Theory"
theoretical physics

Dark Energy May Be Incompatible With String Theory

A controversial new paper argues that universes with dark energy profiles like ours do not exist in the “landscape” of universes allowed by string theory.

Photo of the sun
Abstractions blog

What Is the Sun Made Of and When Will It Die?

If and when physicists are able to pin down the metal content of the sun, that number could upend much of what we thought we knew about the evolution and life span of stars.

Illustration of a galaxy simulation.

The Universe Is Not a Simulation, but We Can Now Simulate It

Computer simulations have become so accurate that cosmologists can now use them to study dark matter, supermassive black holes and other mysteries of the real evolving cosmos.

Photo of inside the MiniBooNE tank
Abstractions blog

Evidence Found for a New Fundamental Particle

An experiment at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Chicago has detected far more electron neutrinos than predicted — a possible harbinger of a revolutionary new elementary particle called the sterile neutrino, though many physicists remain skeptical.

Photo of Large Magellan Cloud rotating clockwise.
Abstractions blog

What Astronomers Are Learning From Gaia’s New Milky Way Map

A roundup of some of the most important discoveries gleaned so far from the Gaia space observatory’s new map of the galaxy.