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theoretical physics

information theory

The Quantum Thermodynamics Revolution

As physicists extend the 19th-century laws of thermodynamics to the quantum realm, they’re rewriting the relationships among energy, entropy and information.

Abstractions blog

Physicists Attack Math’s $1,000,000 Question

Physicists are attempting to map the distribution of the prime numbers to the energy levels of a particular quantum system.

Illustration: diver searching for new math
Quantized Columns

Quantum Questions Inspire New Math

In order to fully understand the quantum world, we may have to develop a new realm of mathematics.

2D knots illustration by James O'Brien
Quantized Columns

Inside the Knotty World of ‘Anyon’ Particles

A new class of quantum particle is about to emerge from the tangled considerations of quantum statistics.

animated gif of a fractal tunnel
theoretical physics

Physicists Uncover Geometric ‘Theory Space’

A decades-old method called the “bootstrap” is enabling new discoveries about the geometry underlying all quantum theories.

particle physics

Grand Unification Dream Kept at Bay

Physicists have failed to find disintegrating protons, throwing into limbo the beloved theory that the forces of nature were unified at the beginning of time.

LHC Collision Events - Visualization
Abstractions blog

The Math That’s Too Difficult for Physics

How do physicists reconstruct what really happened in a particle collision? Through calculations that are so challenging that, in some cases, they simply can’t be done. Yet.

mathematical physics

Strange Numbers Found in Particle Collisions

An unexpected connection has emerged between the results of physics experiments and an important, seemingly unrelated set of numbers in pure mathematics.

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?