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particle physics

Nelson, wearing hiking gear, smiles at the camera at the top of a rocky outcrop.
Quantized Columns

Ann Nelson Took On the Biggest Problems in Physics

August 22, 2019

The theoretical particle physicist Ann Nelson, who died on August 4 at age 61, was a font of brilliant ideas and a champion of ending discrimination in the field.

Carlo Rubbia giving a lecture with a colorful PowerPoint slide on the screen behind him.

A Call for Courage as Physicists Confront Collider Dilemma

August 7, 2019

Carlo Rubbia, leader of the bold collider experiment that in 1983 discovered the W and Z bosons, thinks particle physicists should now smash muons together in an innovative “Higgs factory.”


The Simple Idea Behind Einstein’s Greatest Discoveries

June 26, 2019

Lurking behind Einstein’s theory of gravity and our modern understanding of particle physics is the deceptively simple idea of symmetry. But physicists are beginning to question whether focusing on symmetry is still as productive as it once was.

Art for "The Sun Is Stranger Than Astrophysicists Imagined"

The Sun Is Stranger Than Astrophysicists Imagined

May 1, 2019

The sun radiates far more high-frequency light than expected, raising questions about unknown features of the sun’s magnetic field and the possibility of even more exotic physics.

Art for "The Physics Still Hiding in the Higgs Boson"
Abstractions blog

The Physics Still Hiding in the Higgs Boson

March 4, 2019

No new particles have been found at the Large Hadron Collider since the Higgs boson in 2012, but physicists say there’s much we can still learn from the Higgs itself.

Abstractions blog

How Artificial Intelligence Can Supercharge the Search for New Particles

July 23, 2018

In the hunt for new fundamental particles, physicists have always had to make assumptions about how the particles will behave. New machine learning algorithms don’t.

Photo of Cohl Furey
fundamental physics

The Peculiar Math That Could Underlie the Laws of Nature

July 20, 2018

New findings are fueling an old suspicion that fundamental particles and forces spring from strange eight-part numbers called “octonions.”

Sau Lan Wu at CERN, 2018

Three Major Physics Discoveries and Counting

July 18, 2018

Sau Lan Wu spent decades working to establish the Standard Model of particle physics. Now she’s searching for what lies beyond it.

Photo of inside the MiniBooNE tank
Abstractions blog

Evidence Found for a New Fundamental Particle

June 1, 2018

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.