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physics

Abstractions blog

Why Do Matter Particles Come in Threes? A Physics Titan Weighs In.

March 30, 2020

Three progressively heavier copies of each type of matter particle exist, and no one knows why. A new paper by Steven Weinberg takes a stab at explaining the pattern.

insights puzzle

Solution: ‘Is It Turtles All the Way Down?’

March 27, 2020

While the age-old chicken-and-egg paradox is easily answered, the question of infinite regress in physics is far from resolved.

A man standing in the Arctic tundra holds up a large photo of a swamp.
geology

Sudden Ancient Global Warming Event Traced to Magma Flood

March 19, 2020

A study has cemented the link between an intense global warming episode 56 million years ago and volcanism in the North Atlantic, with implications for modern climate change.

Swirling video.
Abstractions blog

Axions Would Solve Another Major Problem in Physics

March 17, 2020

In a new paper, physicists argue that hypothetical particles called axions could explain why the universe isn’t empty.

Multimedia

What Is the Geometry of the Universe?

March 16, 2020

In our mind’s eye, the universe seems to go on forever. But using geometry we can explore a variety of three-dimensional shapes that offer alternatives to “ordinary” infinite space.

A close-up of fossilized amber.
materials science

Ideal Glass Would Explain Why Glass Exists at All

March 11, 2020

Glass is anything that’s rigid like a crystal, yet made of disordered molecules like a liquid. To understand why it exists, researchers are attempting to create the perfect, still-hypothetical “ideal glass.”

Q&A

The Man Making Rwanda Into a Hub for Physics

March 3, 2020

As the founding director of a new institute for fundamental research in Rwanda, the physicist Omololu Akin-Ojo hopes to stem the brain drain of Africa’s brightest minds.

Cosmic reionization video.
Abstractions blog

How the Cosmic Dark Ages Snuffed Out All Light

March 2, 2020

The recent discovery of some of the first galaxies in the universe illuminates the darkest era in cosmic history.

Illustration of black holes connected by a wormhole.
quantum information theory

Wormholes Reveal a Way to Manipulate Black Hole Information in the Lab

February 27, 2020

A proposal for building wormhole-connected black holes offers a way to probe the paradoxes of quantum information.