7 Major Experiments That Still Haven’t Found What They’re Looking For
Being an experimental scientist can sometimes seem like a thankless task. You may be used to reading headlines about experiments that end up making great discoveries, but less is heard about the (often heroic) efforts of experimentalists that have yet to detect or observe what they set out to. Some of these efforts have spanned […]
Are Gravitational Wave Detections Becoming Normal?
When I heard the news, I emailed my editor with my immediate reaction: “Bummer.” For the fourth time now, humans have directly detected the collision of two black holes. The violent merger occurred over 2 billion years ago, between black holes with 25 and 31 times the mass of our sun. It released an […]
The Hidden Science of the Missing Gravitational Waves
A relatively unknown experiment is already drawing conclusions from the sound of silence.
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 […]
The Most Massive Object in the Universe—How Was It Created?
The galaxy known prosaically as M87 doesn’t look like much. Unlike beautiful spiral galaxies (including the Milky Way), M87 appears as an orangish blob of stars through telescopes. Its only noticeable feature is the long streamer of gas emanating from the galactic center. The source of that jet is far from prosaic, however: It’s […]