Get curated editors’ picks, peeks behind the scenes, film recommendations and more.
In 1928, the UK physicist Paul Dirac stumbled on an equation that seemed to show that, for every particle, there’s another, nearly identical particle with an opposite electric charge. Just four years later, the US physicist Carl David Anderson proved Dirac’s prediction correct by capturing a picture of a ‘positron’ – a particle with the same size and mass as an electron, but with a positive charge rather than a negative one. This rapid series of developments unlocked one of the most momentous and enduring conundrums of physics: if particles with opposite electric charges annihilate one another when they meet, why is there any matter left? And if there’s no more matter than antimatter in existence, then the Universe should have annihilated itself soon after the Big Bang – yet, here we are. This brief animation breaks down this extraordinary, nearly century-long science puzzle, detailing some of the surprising explanations posited by contemporary physicists.
Animator: Eoin Duffy
Writers: Justin Weinstein, Brian Greene
Building ‘bigger and better’ has pushed cosmology forward. Can it take it any further?
Watch the elegant flow of a sheep herd, seen from the sky above Israel
How would a piano sound on Mars? Embark on an interplanetary sonic journey
Design and fashion
Gear up for a stylish celebration of vintage motorcycle design
An ode to the humble rotifer – one of nature’s simplest and strangest creatures
Check in to the Hilbert Hotel, and learn why some infinities are bigger than others
Cognition and intelligence
How a ‘periodic table’ of animal intelligence could help to root out human bias
The city as an emergent life form, with architecture as the skeleton and roads as veins
How sky-high dreams launched one man’s audacious life in homemade rocketry