One photon’s journey

3 minutes

Take a 10 billion-year journey with a photon, from a distant supernova to Earth

It’s a familiar observation that stargazing is a way of seeing into the distant past, but pondering it can still be a stunning mental exercise. In this brief animation from Nature, the US astrophysicist and Nobel Prize-winner Saul Perlmutter imagines the journey of a single photon that’s been hurtling through space for some 10 billion years until it reaches a giant telescope on Earth. Describing the photon’s journey in relation to the chronology of our planet’s development and the evolution of life, Perlmutter evokes not only the vastness of the Universe but also the rather remarkable way that scientists have been able to measure it.

Video by Dog & Rabbit

Video/Life Stages

Harlem’s over-55s synchronised swimming team thinks ageing is better in the pool

4 minutes

ORIGINAL
Video/History of Technology

Why Ancient Pacific mariners were the NASA scientists of their day

2 minutes

Video/Demography & Migration

The island where 50 million crabs roam free and refugees are trapped in limbo

21 minutes

Essay/Quantum Theory

Quantum common sense

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

Philip Ball

Video/Cosmology

The Sun – our steady, reliable companion – tells a very different story up close

4 minutes

Idea/Physics

The idea of creating a new universe in the lab is no joke

Zeeya Merali

Video/Physics

The mathematics of music means piano strings can never be in perfect harmony

4 minutes

Essay/Computing & Artificial Intelligence

fAIth

The most avid believers in artificial intelligence are aggressively secular – yet their language is eerily religious. Why?

Beth Singler

Idea/Biology

Bad mothers and why they make a difference to cheetah survival

Anne Hilborn