New Quantum Computer Milestone Would Make Richard Feynman Very Happy

A commercially available “quantum computer” has been on the market since 2011, but it’s controversial. The D-Wave machine is nothing like other quantum computers, and until recently, scientists have doubted that it was even truly quantum at all. But the company has released an important new result, one that in part…

Cosmic Ray Mystery Finally Cracked Thanks to Supermassive Black Hole Beaming Energy Straight at Earth

Every so often, protons and even entire atomic nuclei strike the Earth with extremely high energies—much higher than what scientists can produce in their most powerful physics experiments. Since the discovery of “cosmic rays” a hundred years ago, no one knew for sure where the most energetic of these particles came…

New Analysis of Potentially Habitable Exoplanet Makes Us Hungry for Better Telescopes 

Eleven light-years from Earth, orbiting a dim red star, there’s an exoplanet called Ross 128b that, as we recently reported, has some the best prospects for life of any known distant world. New results may help astronomers figure out what the planet is made of—and they offer more evidence that it might be inside its…

We Asked Celeb Physicist Brian Cox About Flat Earth Conspiracies, the Multiverse, and Ghosts

There’s a growing, bewildering movement of folks who reject the most basic learnings of science in favor of conspiracy theories and hocus pocus—as a science journalist, I regularly get emails from people who firmly believe the Earth is flat, as shocking as that may seem. I recently chatted with Brian Cox, host of BBC…

How Will Future Civilizations Survive the Accelerating Expansion of the Universe?

If you think we have problems now, just wait a few billion years, when the accelerating expansion of the Universe triggers an energy crisis of cosmological proportions. Sounds grim, but as a new paper points out, an advanced civilization faced with doom won’t have to go gently into that good night—there may very well…

Why Particle Physicists Are Excited About This Mysterious Inconsistency

Scientists haven’t conclusively spotted any new particles since the Higgs boson, and that’s got some people worried—there are a ton of other physics puzzles remaining, many of which would require the presence of a new particle to resolve. But recently, there have been some tantalizing clues of new physics, perhaps a…