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Physicists are reexamining a longstanding assumption: that big stuff consists of smaller stuff.
In a quest to map out a quantum theory of gravity, researchers have used logical rules to calculate how much Einstein’s theory must change. The result matches string theory perfectly.
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.
Subtle aberrations in the clockwork blinking of stars could become “the result of the century.” That’s if the distortions are produced by a network of giant filaments left over from the birth of the universe.
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