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    A New Explanation for One of the Strangest Occurrences in Nature—Ball Lightning

    Explanations for how ball lightning is formed are even more diverse than its physical characteristics. Just a sampling of the theories out there suggest the ball is a cloud of hot silicon particles, a natural nuclear reaction, a lightning-induced epileptic hallucination, a miniature black hole, an aggregate of cellulose and other natural polymers, and a […]

  • White Holes

    “White Holes” Could Exist—But That Doesn’t Mean They Do

      A black hole is a one-way door to oblivion. According to general relativity, once anything crosses its boundary—the event horizon—it cannot return to the outside. For that particle, the black hole is the entire future. We’ll never actually get a chance to see the particle live out that destiny: Any light the particle emits […]

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    The Comforting Certainty of Unanswered Questions

    Light was thought to travel through aether like waves on a lakeShutterstock You might know the anecdote. In April 1900, Lord Kelvin, one of the most prominent physicists of the 19th century, stands in the speaker’s well of the Royal Society in London. Surveying the state of scientific knowledge at the dawn of a new […]