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theoretical physics

Nelson, wearing hiking gear, smiles at the camera at the top of a rocky outcrop.
Quantized Columns

Ann Nelson Took On the Biggest Problems in Physics

August 22, 2019

The theoretical particle physicist Ann Nelson, who died on August 4 at age 61, was a font of brilliant ideas and a champion of ending discrimination in the field.

Abstractions blog

How (Relatively) Simple Symmetries Underlie Our Expanding Universe

July 15, 2019

Although Einstein’s theory of space-time seems more complicated than Newtonian physics, it greatly simplified the mathematical description of the universe.

Abstractions blog

The Quantum Theory That Peels Away the Mystery of Measurement

July 3, 2019

A recent test has confirmed the predictions of quantum trajectory theory.

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.

Abstractions blog

Philosophers Debate New ‘Sonic Black Hole’ Discovery

June 25, 2019

Opinions differ about what recent measurements of a sound-trapping fluid reveal about light-trapping black holes.

cosmology

Physicists Debate Hawking’s Idea That the Universe Had No Beginning

June 6, 2019

A recent challenge to Stephen Hawking’s biggest idea — about how the universe might have come from nothing — has cosmologists choosing sides.

Art for "A Potent Explanation Emerges for Graphene’s Magic Angle"
Abstractions blog

What’s the Magic Behind Graphene’s ‘Magic’ Angle?

May 28, 2019

A new theoretical model may help explain the shocking onset of superconductivity in stacked, twisted carbon sheets.

Art for "What Are Feynman Diagrams?"
In Theory

How Feynman Diagrams Revolutionized Physics

May 14, 2019

In the late 1940s, Richard Feynman invented a visual tool for simplifying particle calculations that forever changed theoretical physics.

Art for "With a Simple Twist, a ‘Magic’ Material Has Quietly Become the Biggest Thing in Physics"
quantum physics

With a Simple Twist, a ‘Magic’ Material Is Now the Big Thing in Physics

April 30, 2019

The stunning emergence of a new type of superconductivity with the mere twist of a carbon sheet has left physicists giddy, and its discoverer nearly overwhelmed.