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cosmology

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    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 […]

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    The Tangled History of Big Bang Science

    Diagram outlining the critical stages of evolution of the Universe from the Big Bang to the present.CERN / Flickr For a theory of the universe as successful as the Big Bang, it may come as a surprise to realize how many complications its promoters had to stumble through. Let’s begin with the unfortunate figure of […]

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    What It Means to Live in a Holographic Cosmos

    When you look in the mirror, the image you see looks a lot like you—not exactly the same, because when you raise your right hand, your mirror-self raises its left. What’s more, the mirror image is merely an assemblage of reflected light, without a physical body behind it. Despite these differences, you can see an […]

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    These Astronomical Glass Plates Made History

    Eight foundational images from the archives of the Carnegie Observatories.

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    What If the Universe Didn’t Start With the Big Bang?

    Last week, researchers using the Planck spacecraft to study the skies announced that the polarization of light spotted by the BICEP2 experiment could be entirely explained by dust swirling around the Milky Way. This news was a bucket of cold water on the theories of many cosmologists: It meant that BICEP2 might not have been […]

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    Excitement Over Gravity Waves Comes Crashing Down

    The Dark Sector Lab includes the BICEP2 telescope, seen on the left.BICEP Keck Science giveth, and science taketh away. What appeared earlier this year to be a long-sought glimpse of ancient ripples in spacetime now seems to have been schmutz in astronomers’ eyes. In March, sky-gazers using a telescope at the South Pole called BICEP2 […]

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    What’s 250 Million Light-Years Big, Almost Empty, and Full of Answers?

    Astronomers are using new tools in their search for cosmic voids.

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    Do We Have the Big Bang Theory All Wrong?

    One physicist’s radical reinterpretation of the cosmic microwave background.

  • woman in the mirror

    What It Means to Live in a Holographic Universe

    When you look in the mirror, the image you see looks a lot like you—not exactly the same, because when you raise your right hand, your mirror-self raises its left. What’s more, the mirror image is merely an assemblage of reflected light, without a physical body behind it. Despite these differences, you can see an […]

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    Over the Universe—The Best Reactions to the Big Physics News

    These swirls in the cosmic microwave background show the effect of primordial gravitational waves.BICEP2 Scientists, on the whole, are a circumspect lot. When faced with a microphone or reporter’s notepad, most of them (excepting a vocal minority) hedge and temper their language, adding provisos and qualifications, burying significant news behind accurate but unexciting jargon. So […]