logo

Charlie Wood

  • placeholder

    How Universes Might Bubble Up and Collide

    Reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine’s Abstractions blog. What lies beyond all we can see? The question may seem unanswerable. Nevertheless, some cosmologists have a response: Our universe is a swelling bubble. Outside it, more bubble universes exist, all immersed in an eternally expanding and energized sea—the multiverse. The idea is polarizing. Some physicists embrace […]

  • placeholder

    How Ancient Light Reveals the Universe’s Contents

    Reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine’s Abstractions blog. In early 2003, Chuck Bennett learned the precise contents of the cosmos. By then, most cosmologists had concluded that the universe contains much more than meets the eye. Observations of pinwheeling galaxies suggested that scaffolds of invisible matter held their stars together, while a repulsive form of energy drove […]

  • placeholder

    Hologram Within a Hologram Hints at Fate of Black Holes

    Reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine’s Abstractions blog. Like cosmic hard drives, black holes pack troves of data into compact spaces. But ever since Stephen Hawking calculated in 1974 that these dense spheres of extreme gravity give off heat and fade away, the fate of their stored information has haunted physicists. The problem is this: The laws […]

  • placeholder

    Physicists Peer Inside a Fireball of Quantum Matter

    Reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine’s Abstractions blog. A gold wedding band will melt at around 1,000 degrees Celsius and vaporize at about 2,800 degrees, but these changes are just the beginning of what can happen to matter. Crank up the temperature to trillions of degrees, and particles deep inside the atoms start to shift into new, non-atomic configurations. Physicists […]

  • placeholder

    Dark Matter Gets a Reprieve in New Analysis

    Reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine’s Abstractions blog. The galactic center shines too brightly, like the glow of a metropolis at night where maps show only a town. To mend their cosmic cartography, astrophysicists have spent years debating what could be powering this excess of energetic light. In 2015 the arguments appeared to swing decisively […]

  • placeholder

    The Strange Numbers That Birthed Modern Algebra

    Reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine‘s Abstractions blog. Imagine winding the hour hand of a clock back from 3 o’clock to noon. Mathematicians have long known how to describe this rotation as a simple multiplication: A number representing the initial position of the hour hand on the plane is multiplied by another constant number. But is a similar […]

  • placeholder

    Black Hole Firewalls Could Be Too Tepid to Burn

    Reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine‘s Abstractions blog. Despite its ability to bend both minds and space, an Einsteinian black hole looks so simple a child could draw it. There’s a point in the center, a perfectly spherical boundary a bit farther out, and that’s it The point is the singularity, an infinitely dense, unimaginably small dot […]

  • placeholder

    Swarming Bacteria Create an “Impossible” Superfluid

    Reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine‘s Abstractions blog. Outside of the imaginations of physics teachers, frictionless devices are hard to come by. But putting a bunch of swimming bacteria into a drop of water achieves just that: a fluid with zero resistance to motion. Incredibly, that resistance (or viscosity, as it’s properly known) can even go negative, […]

  • placeholder

    How Artificial Intelligence Can Supercharge the Search for New Particles

    Reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine‘s Abstractions blog. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) smashes a billion pairs of protons together each second. Occasionally the machine may rattle reality enough to have a few of those collisions generate something that’s never been seen before. But because these events are by their nature a surprise, physicists don’t know exactly […]