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quantum physics

An illustration of an airplane with its contrails coming out in front of it.
quantum gravity

Quantum Mischief Rewrites the Laws of Cause and Effect

March 11, 2021

Spurred on by quantum experiments that scramble the ordering of causes and their effects, some physicists are figuring out how to abandon causality altogether.

A house of cards propped up by a letter i, the unit of imaginary numbers.
quantum physics

Imaginary Numbers May Be Essential for Describing Reality

March 3, 2021

A new thought experiment indicates that quantum mechanics doesn’t work without strange numbers that turn negative when squared.

A video in which a proton seems to be composed of three particles, but on zooming in, it turns out to be a swirling miasma.
quantum physics

Decades-Long Quest Reveals Details of the Proton’s Inner Antimatter

February 24, 2021

Twenty years ago, physicists set out to investigate a mysterious asymmetry in the proton’s interior. Their results, published today, show how antimatter helps stabilize every atom’s core.

A stylized atom surrounded by concentric shells of increasingly complex organisms.
quantum physics

A New Theorem Maps Out the Limits of Quantum Physics

December 3, 2020

The result highlights a fundamental tension: Either the rules of quantum mechanics don’t always apply, or at least one basic assumption about reality must be wrong.

Illustration of a particle
Hidden Structure

What Is a Particle?

November 12, 2020

It has been thought of as many things: a pointlike object, an excitation of a field, a speck of pure math that has cut into reality. But never has physicists’ conception of a particle changed more than it is changing now.

Illustration of a black hole
Hidden Structure

The Most Famous Paradox in Physics Nears Its End

October 29, 2020

In a landmark series of calculations, physicists have proved that black holes can shed information.

Hidden Structure

A New Map of All the Particles and Forces

October 22, 2020

We’ve created a new way to explore the fundamental constituents of the universe.

Particle going through a barrier
quantum physics

Quantum Tunnels Show How Particles Can Break the Speed of Light

October 20, 2020

Recent experiments show that particles should be able to go faster than light when they quantum mechanically “tunnel” through walls.

An animation of a particle collision
Abstractions blog

The Mathematical Structure of Particle Collisions Comes Into View

August 20, 2020

Physicists have identified an algebraic structure underlying the messy mathematics of particle collisions. Some hope it will lead to a more elegant theory of the natural world.