Quantum theory


Latest Popular


Astronomy Biology Biotechnology Chemistry Computing and artificial intelligence Cosmology Deep time Earth science and climate Ecology and environmental sciences Engineering Evolution Genetics History of science Human evolution Human reproduction Illness and disease Mathematics Medicine Oceans and water Palaeontology Physics Quantum theory Space exploration

On a mountain road from Koya to Ryujin, Japan. 1998. Photo by Peter Marlow/Magnum

Essay/
Physics
From chaos to free will

A crude understanding of physics sees determinism at work in the Universe. Luckily, molecular uncertainty ensures this isn’t so

George Ellis

Photo by Peter Marlow/Magnum

Essay/
Philosophy of science
What’s everything made of?

To answer whether the fundamental building blocks of reality are particles, fields or both means thinking beyond physics

Charles Sebens

Photo courtesy ESA/Hubble/NASA, Fillipenko, Jansen

Essay/
Quantum theory
Splitting the Universe

Hugh Everett blew up quantum mechanics with his Many-Worlds theory in the 1950s. Physics is only just catching up

Sean Carroll

A photograph of light generated by spontaneous parametric down-conversion. The camera is looking towards the crystal and the special nature of the light is that it is created two photons at a time and therefore unlike any other source you would typically encounter. Courtesy Alan Migdall/NIST

Essay/
Physics
Seeing the quantum

The human eye is a surprisingly good photon detector. What can it spy of the line between the quantum and classical worlds?

Rebecca Holmes

Photo by Andrea Buso/Gallery Stock

Essay/
Physics
Through two doors

How a sunbeam split in two became physics’ most elegant experiment, shedding light on the underlying nature of reality

Anil Ananthaswamy

Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Essay/
Physics
Out of nowhere

Does everything in the world boil down to basic units – or can emergence explain how distinctive new things arise?

Paul Humphreys

Photo by Getty

Essay/
Physics
Going nowhere fast

After the success of the Standard Model, experiments have stopped answering to grand theories. Is particle physics in crisis?

Ben Allanach

Photo by duncan1890/getty

Essay/
Quantum theory
Quantum common sense

Despite its confounding reputation, quantum mechanics both guides and helps explain human intuition

Philip Ball

Bits of stuff called matter. Photo by Peter Marlow/Magnum

Essay/
Physics
Minding matter

The closer you look, the more the materialist position in physics appears to rest on shaky metaphysical ground

Adam Frank

All illustrations by Ryan McAmis/Bernstein and Andrulli

Essay/
Physics
Taming the quantum spooks

Reconciling Einstein with quantum mechanics may require abandoning the notion that cause always precedes effect

Huw Price & Ken Wharton

Detail from Non-objective 1910, by Vassily Kandinsky (1866-1944). Krasnodar, Museo D’Arte A.W.Lunascharski Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images

Essay/
Physics
Must science be testable?

String wars among physicists have highlighted just how much science needs philosophy – and not just the amateur version

Massimo Pigliucci

A computer model of a Bose-Einstein condensate shows the wave-like structure of atoms near absolute zero. Courtesy NASA/NIST

Essay/
Quantum theory
Black-hole computing

Might nature’s bottomless pits actually be ultra-efficient quantum computers? That could explain why data never dies

Sabine Hossenfelder

Subjectively blue; detail from Wheatfield Under Thunderclouds (1890) by Vincent van Gogh. Courtesy Wikimedia

Essay/
Neuroscience
I feel therefore I am

How exactly did consciousness become a problem? And why, after years off the table, is it a hot research subject now?

Margaret Wertheim

What if light slowed down? Illustration by Matt Murphy/Handsome Frank

Essay/
Deep time
Light dawns

Light travels at around 300,000 km per second. Why not faster? Why not slower? A new theory inches us closer to an answer

Sidney Perkowitz

Automotive Industry mural by Marvin Beerbohm, 1940. Detroit Public Library. Photo by Smithsonian Institution/Corbis

Essay/
Evolution
Life without design

Constructor theory is a new vision of physics, but it helps to answer a very old question: why is life possible at all?

Chiara Marletto