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standard model

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particle physics

‘Last Hope’ Experiment Finds Evidence for Unknown Particles

April 7, 2021

Today’s long-anticipated announcement by Fermilab’s Muon g-2 team appears to solidify a tantalizing conflict between nature and theory. But a separate calculation, published at the same time, has clouded the picture.

Q&A

A Prodigy Who Cracked Open the Cosmos

January 12, 2021

Frank Wilczek has been at the forefront of theoretical physics for the past 50 years. He talks about winning the Nobel Prize for work he did as a student, his solution to the dark matter problem, and the God of a scientist.

Concentric rings of light seen through crosshairs of a Fabry-Pérot interferometer.
Abstractions blog

Physicists Nail Down the ‘Magic Number’ That Shapes the Universe

December 2, 2020

A team in Paris has made the most precise measurement yet of the fine-structure constant, killing hopes for a new force of nature.

Cora Dvorkin in front of a starry backdrop.
Hidden Structure

The Cosmologist Who Dreams in the Universe’s Dark Threads

November 5, 2020

Cora Dvorkin discovered new possibilities for what dark matter could be. Now she’s devising unorthodox ways to identify it.

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.

symmetry

The Simple Idea Behind Einstein’s Greatest Discoveries

June 26, 2019

Lurking behind Einstein’s theory of gravity and our modern understanding of particle physics is the deceptively simple idea of symmetry. But physicists are beginning to question whether focusing on symmetry is still as productive as it once was.

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Quantized Columns

The End of Theoretical Physics as We Know It

August 27, 2018

Computer simulations and custom-built quantum analogues are changing what it means to search for the laws of nature.

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fundamental physics

The Peculiar Math That Could Underlie the Laws of Nature

July 20, 2018

New findings are fueling an old suspicion that fundamental particles and forces spring from strange eight-part numbers called “octonions.”

Sau Lan Wu at CERN, 2018
Q&A

Three Major Physics Discoveries and Counting

July 18, 2018

Sau Lan Wu spent decades working to establish the Standard Model of particle physics. Now she’s searching for what lies beyond it.