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theoretical physics

Neutron-scattering image of a “spin ice” material created in 2009 that contains particles analogous to magnetic monopoles.
Abstractions blog

Can Analogies Reveal the Laws of Physics?

So-called “analogue experiments” are becoming increasingly common in physics, but do they teach or mislead?

quantum gravity

What Sonic Black Holes Say About Real Ones

Can a fluid analogue of a black hole point physicists toward the theory of quantum gravity, or is it a red herring?

Pencils Down: Experiments in Education

A Wormhole Between Physics and Education

The theoretical particle physicist Helen Quinn has blazed a singular path from the early days of the Standard Model to the latest overhaul of science education in the United States.

string theory

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.


A Seeker of Dark Matter’s Hidden Light

The astrophysicist Tracy Slatyer is searching for faint wisps of dark matter annihilating in the early universe — and perhaps in hiding places closer to home.

Signatories of a bet placed in 2011.
Abstractions blog

Supersymmetry Bet Settled With Cognac

The absence of supersymmetry particles at the Large Hadron Collider has settled a 16-year-old bet among physicists.

particle physics

What No New Particles Means for Physics

Physicists are confronting their “nightmare scenario.” What does the absence of new particles suggest about how nature works?


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.


Mining Black Hole Collisions for New Physics

The physicist Asimina Arvanitaki is thinking up ways to search gravitational wave data for evidence of dark matter particles orbiting black holes.