What's up in

physics

Illustration for Extreme Radio Bursts
astrophysics

Astronomers Trace Radio Burst to Extreme Cosmic Neighborhood

A mysterious object that repeatedly bursts with ultra-powerful radio waves must live in an extreme environment — something like the one around a supermassive black hole.

520 Illustration for Quantum Gravity
Quantized Columns

Why an Old Theory of Everything Is Gaining New Life

For decades, physicists have struggled to create a quantum theory of gravity. Now an approach that dates to the 1970s is attracting newfound attention.

Illustration: man using rulers stacked on a compass as a telescope
insights puzzle

How Triangulation Leads to Knowledge

What does measuring distances in sailing and astrophysics have to with motion sickness?

520px illustration of classification of phases
condensed matter physics

Physicists Aim to Classify All Possible Phases of Matter

A complete classification could lead to a wealth of new materials and technologies. But some exotic phases continue to resist understanding.

Crossword puzzle illustration
insights puzzle

Quanta’s Science and Math Crossword Puzzle

This holiday season, catch up on science and math news while solving our year-end crossword.

Simulation of Kelvin-Helmholz Instability
fluid dynamics

Mathematicians Find Wrinkle in Famed Fluid Equations

Two mathematicians prove that under certain extreme conditions, the Navier-Stokes equations output nonsense.

M theory and its six components
Abstractions blog

Why Is M-Theory the Leading Candidate for Theory of Everything?

The mother of all string theories passes a litmus test that, so far, no other candidate theory of quantum gravity has been able to match.

Electron-neutrino candidate in Super Kamiokande
Abstractions blog

Neutrinos Suggest Solution to Mystery of Universe’s Existence

Updated results from a Japanese neutrino experiment continue to reveal an inconsistency in the way that matter and antimatter behave.

Jennifer Balakrishnan and Sachi Hashimoto, plotted using SageMath
Abstractions blog

Mathematicians Crack the Cursed Curve

A famously difficult mathematical problem resisted solution for over 40 years. Mathematicians have finally resolved it by following an intuition that links number theory to physics.