General Relativity

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General relativity isn’t only a powerfully descriptive theory, but there’s a beauty in its elegance.

The art and beauty of general relativity

Einstein's theory of general relativity is a triumph of reason and imagination, of art and science, with a profound beauty of its own.
You can feel the weight of an object on Earth because of its mass. But what is mass? Flickr/Jeremy Brooks

Explainer: what is mass?

We talk about mass all the time but what is it that actually gives an object mass? And why do some things have mass and others have no mass at all?
Dark matter is notoriously hard to detect, but a new experiment might finally shed light on this mysterious substance. Dirk Dallas/Flickr

How we plan to bring dark matter to light

A new detector built deep underground in a gold mine will hopefully unravel the mystery of dark matter.
The dispute between Philipp Lenard and Albert Einstein sheds considerable light on the power of nonscientific concerns to sway scientists. NASA via Wikimedia Commons

When science gets ugly – the story of Philipp Lenard and Albert Einstein

Scientists are not always as scientific as many suppose. Recent well-publicized cases of scientific fraud prove that scientists can be as susceptible to the allures of wealth, power and fame as politicians…
Doesn’t matter if it doesn’t work. andertoons

How to test the twin paradox without using a spaceship

Forget about anti-ageing creams and hair treatments. If you want to stay young, get a fast spaceship. That is what Einstein’s Theory of Relativity predicted a century ago, and it is commonly known as “twin…
When you’re celebrating the New Year, be sure to spare a thought for Vesto Slipher and the birth of cosmology. Nuwandalice

Expand into 2013 by toasting 100 years of modern cosmology

As 2012 comes to a close and you toast the New Year, be sure to also raise a glass to one Vesto Melvin Slipher. My intent is to describe what Slipher did 100 years ago in Flagstaff, Arizona and why this…
Hyper-drives might be the stuff of science fiction, but they could be science fact too. 20th Century Fox

Warp drives and reality: new hope for a Galactic Empire?

Fans of science fiction must be disheartened when introduced to Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity. Dreams of galactic empires, criss-crossed by roguish princesses and beautiful smugglers, go out…
We know they’re out there, and now we’re closer than ever to finding gravity waves. NASA

Gravity waves, scientists wave back: squeezing light beyond quantum limit

Detecting gravity waves is a major goal for astrophysicists. We know they should be there, but we haven’t found them yet. But today we are one step closer. By literally squeezing light on a quantum level…
The universe teems with energy and matter we don’t understand. stuant63/Flickr

Adventures in the dark side of cosmology

In questioning the fundamental nature of the universe, cosmology regularly grabs the public’s attention. But in an era in which we are observing deeper and more widely than ever before, our knowledge of…
Time travel has long been a staple of science fiction but the LHC might make it a reality. Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Is the Large Hadron Collider a time machine?

Switzerland’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) can be called a time machine in one sense: it enables us to examine conditions as they were during the universe’s early stages. But is the 27km-long particle accelerator…

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