Corey S Powell
Science Journalist, New York

Corey S Powell is an editor and journalist with a special fondness for all things astronomical and particulate. He spent 15 years at Discover, and was the magazine’s editor-in-chief for four years. Prior to that, he was a longtime member of the Board of Editors at Scientific American. Since then, he has been an editor at Aeon. He is the author of God in the Equation (2003), an examination of the spiritual impulse in modern cosmology. He also collaborated with Bill Nye on his books Unstoppable (2016), Undeniable (2014) and Everything All at Once (2017), and together they make the Science Rules! podcast. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. 

Written by Corey S Powell

At the European Southern Observatory, La Silla, Chile. Photo courtesy Alan Fitzsimmons/ESO

Essay/
Cosmology
Fate of the Universe

Are we part of a dying reality or a blip in eternity? The value of the Hubble Constant could tell us which terror awaits

Corey S Powell

Edited by Corey S Powell

Out of this world; spirit photography by William Hope c1920. Courtesy National Media Museum/Wikipedia

Essay/
History of science
Spiritual hyperplane

How spiritualists of the 19th century forged a lasting association between higher dimensions and the occult world

Paul Halpern

The law of freefall; Elizabeth Becker at the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris. Photo by Bettmann/Getty

Essay/
History of science
Armchair science

Thought experiments played a crucial role in the history of science. But do they tell us anything about the real world?

Dan Falk

A scanning electron microscope image shows a nematode in biofilm (blue), in its natural deep-subsurface habitat. The scale bar is 20 micrometres (μm) long. All images courtesy Gaetan Borgonie

Essay/
Earth science and climate
Life goes deeper

The Earth is not a solid mass of rock: its hot, dark, fractured subsurface is home to weird and wonderful life forms

Gaetan Borgonie & Maggie Lau

‘Lucy’ skeleton of Australopithecus afarensis, 3.2 million years old (left), and ‘Neo’ skeleton of Homo naledi, roughly 250,000 years old (right). Photo: Wits University/John Hawks

Essay/
Rituals and celebrations
Who first buried the dead?

Evidence of burial rites by the primitive, small-brained Homo naledi suggests that symbolic behaviour is very ancient indeed

Paige Madison

Development in Brown 1933, by Wassily Kandinsky. Photo by Christophel Fine Art/Getty

Essay/
Mathematics
How natural is numeracy?

Where does our number sense come from? Is it a neural capacity we are born with — or is it a product of our culture?

Philip Ball

Illustration by Matt Murphy at Handsome Frank

Essay/
Cosmology
Universe in a bubble

Maybe we don’t have to speculate about what life is like inside a bubble. It might be the only cosmic reality we know

J Richard Gott

Italian nuclear physicist Bruno Pontecorvo walks through the streets of Moscow following his defection to Russia, 12 March 1955. Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Essay/
Physics
Operation: neutrino

How the neutrino went from ghost particle to vital physics tool – a tale of bombs, espionage and subtle flavours

David Kaiser

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

Artwork illustrating the concept of an alternate ‘bubble’ universe in which our universe (left) is not the only one. Some scientists think that bubble universes may pop into existence all the time, and occasionally nudge ours. NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC)

Photo by Markus Varesvuo/Nature Picture Library/Getty

Essay/
History of science
The cosmology of Poe

Drawing on intuition, Edgar Allan Poe offered some remarkably prescient ideas about the universe in his poem ‘Eureka’

Paul Halpern

An infrared image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope shows the centre of the Milky Way galaxy where the brightest white spot marks the site of a supermassive black hole. Photo by NASA/Caltech/JPL

Essay/
Cosmology
Echoes of a black hole

Ripples in space-time could herald the demise of general relativity and its replacement by a quantum theory of gravity

Sabine Hossenfelder

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

Atomised: detail from The Jubilee Plantation by William Wilkins, 1980, oil on canvas. Private collection. © William Wilkins.

Essay/
Physics
This granular life

That the world is not solid but made up of tiny particles is a very ancient insight. Is it humanity’s greatest idea?

Carlo Rovelli

Photo by Ralph Lee Hopkins/National Geographic

Essay/
Deep time
Welcome to Terra Sapiens

Humans have been altering Earth for millennia, but only now are we wise to what we’re doing. How will we use that wisdom?

David Grinspoon

Berries hang on the wall of a house in a village inside Chernobyl’s exclusion zone. Photo by Rena Effendi/National Geographic/Getty

Essay/
Poverty and development
The harvests of Chernobyl

Thirty years after the nuclear disaster, local berry-pickers earn a good living. What’s the hidden cost of their wares?

Kate Brown & Olha Martynyuk

Photo by Christopher Anderson/Magnum

Essay/
Future of technology
Crimes of the future

Predictive policing uses algorithms to analyse data and cut crime. But does it really work, and should it be trusted?

Sidney Perkowitz

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