Detailed Footage Finally Reveals What Triggers Lightning
Scientists have never been able to adequately explain where lightning comes from. Now the first detailed observations of its emergence inside a cloud have exposed how electric fields grow strong enough to let bolts fly.
The ‘Weirdest’ Matter, Made of Partial Particles, Defies Description
Theorists are in a frenzy over “fractons,” bizarre, but potentially useful, hypothetical particles that can only move in combination with one another.
The Near-Magical Mystery of Quasiparticles
The zoo of spontaneously emerging particlelike entities known as quasiparticles has grown quickly and become more and more exotic. Here are a few of the most curious and potentially useful examples.
Growing Inventory of Black Holes Offers a Radical Probe of the Cosmos
One black hole is nice, but astrophysicists can do a lot more science with 50 of them.
Secret Ingredient Found to Power Supernovas
Three-dimensional supernova simulations have solved the mystery of why they explode at all.
Physicists Pin Down Nuclear Reaction From Moments After the Big Bang
The newly-measured rate of a key nuclear fusion process from the Big Bang matches the picture of the universe 380,000 years later.
Some Physicists See Signs of Cosmic Strings From the Big Bang
Subtle aberrations in the clockwork blinking of stars could become “the result of the century.” That’s if the distortions are produced by a network of giant filaments left over from the birth of the universe.
What Might Be Speeding Up the Universe’s Expansion?
Physicists have proposed extra cosmic ingredients that could explain the faster-than-expected expansion of space.