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experimental physics

Elena Aprile in her lab at Columbia University.

In the Deep, a Drive to Find Dark Matter

December 20, 2016

Elena Aprile now leads the world’s most sensitive dark-matter search. But before she could build her first detector, she had to make herself out of titanium.

particle physics

Grand Unification Dream Kept at Bay

December 15, 2016

Physicists have failed to find disintegrating protons, throwing into limbo the beloved theory that the forces of nature were unified at the beginning of time.

Janet Conrad by Kayana Szymczak

On a Hunt for a Ghost of a Particle

December 8, 2016

Janet Conrad has a plan to catch the sterile neutrino — an elusive particle, possibly glimpsed by a number of experiments, that would upend what we know about the subatomic world.

LHC Collision Events - Visualization
Abstractions blog

The Math That’s Too Difficult for Physics

November 18, 2016

How do physicists reconstruct what really happened in a particle collision? Through calculations that are so challenging that, in some cases, they simply can’t be done. Yet.

mathematical physics

Strange Numbers Found in Particle Collisions

November 15, 2016

An unexpected connection has emerged between the results of physics experiments and an important, seemingly unrelated set of numbers in pure mathematics.

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?

November 10, 2016

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

quantum gravity

What Sonic Black Holes Say About Real Ones

November 8, 2016

Can a fluid analogue of a black hole point physicists toward the theory of quantum gravity, or is it a red herring?

Abstractions blog

New Measurement Deepens Proton Puzzle

August 11, 2016

A discrepancy in the measured size of the “deuteron” increases the chance that something is amiss in our understanding of atoms.

particle physics

What No New Particles Means for Physics

August 9, 2016

Physicists are confronting their “nightmare scenario.” What does the absence of new particles suggest about how nature works?