What's up in

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.

An illustration of a sunset beach scene turned into a puzzle.
insights puzzle

The Puzzling Search for Perfect Randomness

August 20, 2019

Does objective, perfect randomness exist, or is randomness merely a product of our ignorance?

Illustration of three black holes on a starry background
Abstractions blog

To Make Two Black Holes Collide, Try Three

August 15, 2019

How do black holes merge and make gravitational waves? Maybe with a little help from their friends.

An illustration of the cosmologists Wendy Freedman and Adam Riess debating the expansion rate of the universe at a recent meeting at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics in Santa Barbara, California.
cosmology

Cosmologists Debate How Fast the Universe Is Expanding

August 8, 2019

New measurements could upend the standard theory of the cosmos that has reigned since the discovery of dark energy 21 years ago.

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

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.”

universality

The Universal Law That Aims Time’s Arrow

August 1, 2019

A new look at a ubiquitous phenomenon has uncovered unexpected fractal behavior that could give us clues about the early universe and the arrow of time.

Art for "Bubble Experiment Finds Universal Laws"
universality

Bubble Experiment Finds Universal Laws

July 31, 2019

Physicists have found examples of “universality” in a system of confined bubbles. The work could help researchers understand the strange behavior of singularities.

Abstractions blog

Physicists Peer Inside a Fireball of Quantum Matter

July 30, 2019

Experimenters in Germany have glimpsed the kind of strange, non-atomic matter thought to fill the cores of merging neutron stars.

Abstractions blog

Sun’s Puzzling Plasma Recreated in a Laboratory

July 29, 2019

For the first time, researchers have created a scale model of the twisting loops of the sun’s magnetic field.