How Two Nobel Laureates Spotted the First Exoplanet

The 2019 Nobel Prize for Physics was awarded yesterday in part to Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz for an amazing discovery they made back in 1995: the first detection of a planet orbiting a far-away star similar to our sun. Before that, the only planets on the map were the eight in our own solar […]

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Sean Carroll Thinks We All Exist on Multiple Worlds

In the sixties, the physicist Richard Feynman wrote, “I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics.” Today, the situation hasn’t changed. Sure, physicists use quantum mechanics. They used the theory to anticipate the existence of new particles like the Higgs boson, and now they’re harnessing its rules to build technologies like quantum […]

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Unusual Fluids Flip, Twirl, and Redefine How Liquids Work

When not confined to a container, liquids will splatter, dribble, and ooze. They shape-shift into their surroundings as puddles and streams, largely beyond human control. Lauren Zarzar is trying to make more obedient liquids. Zarzar, a materials scientist at Pennsylvania State University, designs liquids that she can tame—fluids that move or change shape on command. […]

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Is It OK to Change Hurricane Forecasts With a Sharpie Doodle?

No. Why is this even a question? You can’t just go and alter the predictions of a model because you expected something different. I’m talking, of course, about that famously doctored map of Hurricane Dorian’s projected path. The chart, dated August 29, included a white “uncertainty cone” around the storm’s anticipated path, which someone later […]

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Humans and Neanderthals Kept Breeding—and Breeding—for Ages

Humans today are mosaics, our genomes rich tapestries of interwoven ancestries. With every fossil discovered, with every DNA analysis performed, the story gets more complex: We, the sole survivors of the genus Homo, harbor genetic fragments from other closely related but long-extinct lineages. Modern humans are the products of a sprawling history of shifts and […]

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