Get curated editors’ picks, peeks behind the scenes, film recommendations and more.
From Isaac Newton’s ‘absolute space’ and ‘absolute time’, which envisioned the two phenomena as fundamental and separate, to Albert Einstein’s ‘spacetime’, which condensed them into a single concept, the relationship between space and time has been the mystery driving fundamental physics for more than four centuries. And over the past several decades, some physicists, including Lee Smolin of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Canada, have come to believe that the fabric of reality is perhaps due to be torn into yet again. In this interview with Robert Lawrence Kuhn for the series Closer to Truth, Smolin discusses how developments in quantum mechanics have left physicists with questions that special relativity can’t seem to accommodate, and why the solution might be a conception of reality in which time is fundamental, and space emergent.
Video by Closer to Truth
Philosophy of mind
Caring for the vulnerable opens gateways to our richest, deepest brain states
History of ideas
How did ‘personal responsibility’ evolve into its opposite, ‘everyone for themselves’?
The Standard Model might be the most successful theory in science. But what is it?
Thinkers and theories
Bigger isn’t better – the renegade ‘Buddhist economics’ of E F Schumacher
Meet the citizen scientist who changed how we see the Sun, and science itself
Information and communication
The modern world is littered with statistical noise. Here’s how to find the signal
Dance and theatre
Close-up on kabuki – the colourful ‘pure entertainment’ of Japan’s Edo period
On the run from COVID-19, an Indigenous family treks deep into the Amazon rainforest
Building ‘bigger and better’ has pushed cosmology forward. Can it take it any further?