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The many colours of visible light just part of what James Clerk Maxwell’s theory was to explain. Flickr/laura peta

Let there be light! Celebrating the theory of electromagnetism

It’s hard to imagine life without mobile phones, radio and television. Yet the discovery of the electromagnetic waves that underpin such technologies grew out of an abstract theory that’s 150 years old…
The Large Magellanic Cloud (right) visible in the southern sky is a nearby galaxy to our own. Flickr/Tracey Harrison Hill

Darwin meets Newton: evolution and the mass of the galaxy

If the solution to a problem does not reveal itself straight away then why not let your initial guesswork evolve? That’s the approach we’ve taken in trying to determine the mass of our galaxy by mapping…
There’s more to gravity than apples falling from trees. Cea

Explainer: gravity

I have spent almost 40 years trying to detect gravity waves. When I started there were just a few of us working away in university labs. Today 1,000 physicists working with billion-dollar observatories…
Mirrors of a magical scientist: Andromeda photographed through a Newtonian telescope. Flickr/JonBaglo.

Digital alchemy: Sir Isaac Newton’s papers now online

The notebooks of Sir Isaac Newton, who was famously reported to have suffered a (scientifically) earth-shaking blow to the…

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