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Dwarf irregular galaxy
Abstractions blog

Researchers Check Space-Time to See if It’s Made of Quantum Bits

The newly developed theory of emergent gravity, proposed as an alternative to dark matter, struggles in one of its first trials.

Dark matter superfluid
dark matter

Dark Matter Recipe Calls for One Part Superfluid

A different kind of dark matter could help to resolve an old celestial conundrum.

Light from the first galaxies clears the universe.

Discoveries Fuel Fight Over Universe’s First Light

A series of observations at the very edge of the universe has reignited a debate over what lifted the primordial cosmic fog.


A Cosmic Burst Repeats, Deepen­ing a Mystery

After a surprise discovery, astrophysicists are racing to understand superenergetic flashes of radio waves that sometimes beep out from distant galaxies.

Erik Verlinde by Ilvy Njiokiktjien for Quanta Magazine

The Case Against Dark Matter

A proposed theory of gravity does away with dark matter, even as new astrophysical findings challenge the need for galaxies full of the invisible mystery particles.

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.

string theory

The Strange Second Life of String Theory

String theory has so far failed to live up to its promise as a way to unite gravity and quantum mechanics. At the same time, it has blossomed into one of the most useful sets of tools in science.


A Debate Over the Physics of Time

According to our best theories of physics, the universe is a fixed block where time only appears to pass.


Physicists Hunt for the Big Bang’s Triangles

The story of the universe’s birth — and evidence for string theory — could be found in triangles and myriad other shapes in the sky.