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physics

Abstractions blog

How the Neutrino’s Tiny Mass Could Help Solve Big Mysteries

October 15, 2019

The KATRIN experiment is closing in on the mass of the neutrino, which could point to new laws of particle physics and shape theories of cosmology.

insights puzzle

How Randomness Can Arise From Determinism

October 14, 2019

Playing with a simple bean machine illustrates how deterministic laws can produce probabilistic, random-seeming behavior.

Photo of lithium batteries
Abstractions blog

Nobel Awarded for Lithium-Ion Batteries and Portable Power

October 9, 2019

John Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino shared the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for developing lithium-ion batteries, “the hidden workhorses of the mobile era.”

An illustration of a planet in front of a star.
Abstractions blog

Physics Nobel Honors Early Universe and Exoplanet Discoveries

October 8, 2019

The astronomers Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz won half of the prize for their 1995 discovery of a Jupiter-like planet orbiting a nearby star. The cosmologist James Peebles won the other half for work exploring the structure of the universe.

Quantized Columns

Why I Called It ‘Quantum Supremacy’

October 2, 2019

Researchers finally seem to have a quantum computer that can outperform a classical computer. But what does that really mean?

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

Solution: ‘Perfect Randomness’

September 27, 2019

Is nature inherently random or is perfect randomness just an illusion based on our ignorance?

Stephanie Wehner in a red suit standing in a glass-paneled corridor at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. Her reflection appears in the glass to the right and left.
Q&A

To Invent a Quantum Internet

September 25, 2019

Fifty years after the current internet was born, the physicist and computer scientist Stephanie Wehner is planning and designing the next internet — a quantum one.

A sandy beach at low tide dotted with ancient tree stumps.
geophysics

Artificial Intelligence Takes On Earthquake Prediction

September 19, 2019

After successfully predicting laboratory earthquakes, a team of geophysicists has applied a machine learning algorithm to quakes in the Pacific Northwest.

Thumbnail: stylized illustration of a supernova
astrophysics

Long-Lived Stellar Blast Kindles Hope of a Supernova We’ve Never Seen Before

September 12, 2019

A giant star’s death throes may offer the first evidence of a pair-instability supernova, and a glimpse of the first stars in the universe.