Related articlesSkip carousel
- Feb 2 20178 minutos
What Quantum Gravity Needs Is More Experiments: Math won’t solve quantum gravity. Experimentation will.
In the mid-1990s, I studied mathematics. I wasn’t really sure just what I wanted to do with my life, but I was awed by the power of mathematics to describe the natural world. After classes on differential geometry and Lie algebras, I attended a semin
- Jan 23 20173 minutos
From Angry Birds To Particle Physics
Rovio veterans bet they can make a learning game kids want to play | “Something like this could be quite useful in building confidence”
- Jul 10 20137 minutos
The Best Evidence for Dark Matter & the Uncertainty Therein
If I told you that I was 99.81 percent certain I had made a big discovery, you might suggest it was time to break out the champagne. If I said the discovery resolved one of the biggest outstanding problems in science and would probably let me punch a
- Oct 1 20158 minutos
The Trouble with Theories of Everything: There is no known physics theory that is true at every scale—there may never be.
Whenever you say anything about your daily life, a scale is implied. Try it out. “I’m too busy” only works for an assumed time scale: today, for example, or this week. Not this century or this nanosecond. “Taxes are onerous” only makes sense for a ce
- Aug 7 201410 minutos
The Bridge From Nowhere: How is it possible to get something from nothing?
The question of being is the darkest in all philosophy.” So concluded William James in thinking about that most basic of riddles: how did something come from nothing? The question infuriates, James realized, because it demands an explanation while de
- May 1 201410 minutos
The Sacred, Spherical Cows of Physics: Theoretical physics milks symmetry to power its newest tool.
Early in their training, many physics students come across the idea of spherical cows. Cows in the real world—even at their most plump and well-fed—are hardly spherical, and this makes it tricky to calculate things like, say, how their volume or surf
- Aug 15 20138 minutos
Discovering the Expected: In the search for subatomic particles, it helps to know what you’re looking for.
Let me tell you the tale of two Nobel Prizes—well, almost. The first Prize I want to tell you about was awarded to Wilhelm Röntgen in 1901 for the discovery of X-rays. The details of this discovery are fascinating in their own right, but the salient
- Jun 12 20146 minutos
How Physics Is Like Three-Chord Rock: Like a set of common chords, the same math appears in diverse fields of physics.
A few years back, 12 million of us clicked over to watch the “Pachelbel Rant” on YouTube. You might remember it. Strumming repetitive chords on his guitar, comedian Rob Paravonian confessed that when he was a cellist, he couldn’t stand the Pachelbel
- Jun 12 20149 minutos
This Shape-Shifter Could Tell Us Why Matter Exists: Neutrinos can flit between states effortlessly, hinting at deep new physics.
Neutrino physics is full of unusual characters. There was Ettore Majorana, who disappeared in 1938 without a trace, taking his savings with him. No record of him has ever been found, though there have been numerous disputed sightings of him throughou