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To Solve the Biggest Mystery in Physics, Join Two Kinds of Law
Reductionism breaks the world into elementary building blocks. Emergence finds the simple laws that arise out of complexity. These two complementary ways of viewing the universe come together in modern theories of quantum gravity.
Symmetry, Algebra and the Monster
To begin to understand what mathematicians and physicists see in the abstract structures of symmetries, let’s start with a familiar shape.
Joe Polchinski’s Restless Pursuit of Quantum Gravity
The pot-stirring string theorist and quantum gravity theorist never sits still for long.
Eva Silverstein’s Spirals and Strings
Daily bike rides, serendipitous interactions and long periods of solo thinking inspire this string cosmologist.
Juan Maldacena, Pondering Quantum Gravity by the Pond
One of the world’s preeminent theoretical physicists seeks a quiet place to think.
Where Gravity Is Weak and Naked Singularities Are Verboten
Recent calculations tie together two conjectures about gravity, potentially revealing new truths about its elusive quantum nature.
Quantum Questions Inspire New Math
In order to fully understand the quantum world, we may have to develop a new realm of mathematics.
The Strange Second Life of String Theory
String theory has so far failed to live up to its promise as a way to unite gravity and quantum mechanics. At the same time, it has blossomed into one of the most useful sets of tools in science.
Moonshine Master Toys With String Theory
The physicist-mathematician Miranda Cheng is working to harness a mysterious connection between string theory, algebra and number theory.