The Most Important Mathematician You've Never Heard Of

Sometimes, even the great, pivotal figures in science don't get their due. In today's very special "Ask a Physicist," I'll introduce you to Emmy Noether, one of the most important thinkers you might not have heard of. » 6/25/14 8:00am 6/25/14 8:00am

Are High Energy Neutrinos from Outer Space Really a Big Deal?

It may seem as though every new day brings an announcement of a scientific breakthrough of the highest order. Should you freak out about every new record-breaking neutrino? In this week's "Ask a Physicist," we'll find out. » 6/23/14 12:00pm 6/23/14 12:00pm

When will the universe end?

Robert Frost famously noted that,"Some say the world will end in fire / Some say in ice." Lucky us! We're pretty sure we know the answer: it's ice. But how long do we have until the end of time, and what will it look like? In this week's "Ask a Physicist," we'll find out. » 10/29/13 9:00am 10/29/13 9:00am

What do you really need to know about the universe?

I've spent the last three years writing the "Ask a Physicist" column in which you folks have sent me some great questions about black holes and warp drives and so on, (and please keep 'em coming). But why? How much do you really need to know about the universe? » 9/17/13 10:20am 9/17/13 10:20am

Why can't Einstein and Quantum Mechanics get along?

Despite our successes at describing the inner workings of the universe (Higgs, anyone?), there are still some gaping holes in our knowledge. Where's our Grand Unified Theory or our Theory of Everything? And why is Einstein's General Relativity still at odds with Quantum Mechanics? Why should we want to unify them… » 8/09/13 12:24pm 8/09/13 12:24pm

Can you tell what a black hole has been eating?

Black holes have a justifiably terrifying reputation. If you drop your keys in there, forget them, because they are gone. But are matters really so bad? Can a black hole "remember" what it's eaten? In this week's "Ask a Physicist" we'll find out. » 7/12/13 1:00pm 7/12/13 1:00pm

An Excerpt from Dave Goldberg's “Universe in the Rearview Mirror”

The day is finally here! My new book, The Universe in the Rearview Mirror, is being released today! Many of the topics in the book were prompted by all of the great questions from the io9 community, and I wanted to thank you again by offering you this free excerpt. » 7/11/13 11:00am 7/11/13 11:00am

Where does the Standard Model of physics come from?

The Standard Model of particle physics is a triumph of science. It's a collection of 17 particles, and four forces. Physicists like to call it "elegant" but to the untrained eye, it looks anything but. Where does this all come from? In this week's Ask a Physicist, we'll find out. » 7/04/13 9:00am 7/04/13 9:00am

How does spacetime get bent?

In Einstein's universe, spacetime is supposed to be some crazy rubber sheet full of folds and bends. But the idea of curved space is not the most intuitive in the world. And what does light have to do with any of this? In this week's Ask a Physicist, we'll find out. » 6/27/13 9:00am 6/27/13 9:00am

We Can Make It to the Edge of the Observable Universe in a Few Decades

Do you find our galaxy too confining? Do you long for the vast expanses of extragalactic space? Now, you can make it to the edges of the observable universe in only a few decades! In this week's "Ask a Physicist," we'll offer you a practical guide for the intergalactic traveler. » 6/20/13 11:00am 6/20/13 11:00am

Is the Earth getting heavier?

Except for the occasional earthquake or volcano eruption, the Earth seems like a fairly stable place. But if you believe that YOU COULD NOT BE MORE WRONG. We are under constant bombardment. From space! And how does all of this cosmic debris affect the earth? In this week's "Ask a Physicist" we'll find out. » 6/13/13 11:00am 6/13/13 11:00am

Ask a Physicist ... And Win a Book!

Good news, everyone! On July 11, Dutton will be releasing my new book, The Universe in the Rearview Mirror: How Hidden Symmetries Shape Reality. But do you need to wait that long? Maybe not! » 6/06/13 9:20am 6/06/13 9:20am

What will happen when our Galaxy collides with Andromeda?

One day, our own galaxy will collide with Andromeda — and when that happens, poor defenseless Earth will be smashed to bits. Right? Wrong. In this week's "Ask a Physicist," we'll find out why. » 5/29/13 7:00am 5/29/13 7:00am

How much does antimatter weigh?

Antimatter is mysterious, dangerous, and rare. In fiction, it's at the core of Isaac Asimov's positronic brains, the engines on the Enterprise, and the bomb in Dan Brown's Angels and Demons. But in the real world, antimatter is fairly mundane stuff. If the entire universe turned into antimatter, we'd barely notice. Or… » 5/08/13 1:00pm 5/08/13 1:00pm

Will the universe end in a "Big Rip"?

There's overwhelming evidence that the universe is accelerating. This means that the future is going to be a relatively lonely place, with galaxies getting ever further from one another, and no hope (if there ever was any) of traveling between them. But could the accelerating universe be even more grim than that? » 4/23/13 11:37am 4/23/13 11:37am

The Planck Satellite Discovers Extra Dark Matter In the Universe

This week, the Planck Satellite team announced major findings from over a year of observations of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), or the radioactive sludge that lingers in our universe from the beginning of time, right after the Big Bang. And while there's a lot to digest, I wanted to give you some high… » 3/22/13 7:00am 3/22/13 7:00am

What's so super about Supersymmetry?

The headline discovery out of the LHC was, of course, the Higgs Boson. But the LHC is no one-trick pony. The search is on to find hints of Supersymmetry. What's that, you ask? In this week's column, we'll find out. » 9/28/12 8:00am 9/28/12 8:00am

Stop calling it "The God Particle!"

We've heard the rumors. Now for the news physics nerds have been waiting for: the "official" discovery of the Higgs Boson. But something is gnawing at me like children on my lawn: this whole "God Particle" business. » 7/03/12 11:01am 7/03/12 11:01am

What happened before the Big Bang?

We spend a lot of time thinking about futurism, but the past is pretty interesting, too. In this week's "Ask a Physicist" we get extra speculative and think about what things may have been like before the beginning of time. What was there before the Big Bang? Did anything exist before our current universe? Here's what… » 2/02/12 12:23pm 2/02/12 12:23pm