Articles on Physics

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The GPS on your phone couldn’t work without General Relativity. Jym Dyer

Explainer: Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity

It’s the year 2100. You wake up alone in a small, windowless room. The only other thing in the room is a small ball. Maybe the room is located in your city, but maybe it’s inside that new spaceship everyone’s…
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…
A universe composed differently could still support complex life. Susan NYC

Peer Review: The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning

Welcome to Peer Review, a series in which we ask leading academics to review books written by people working in the same field. Here Geraint Lewis, Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Sydney…
Graphene may have humble beginnings, but it’s becoming a major draw. qwertyuiop

From pencil to high-speed internet: graphene is a modern wonder

It inspired the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics. It’s the best thermal conductor we know of. It’s a crystal stiffer than diamond, but able to stretch by 20% of its length, and can carry a current density one…
How long’s a piece of string? You may want to sit down for a minute. Gnu2000

Explainer: String theory

String theory entered the public arena in 1988 when a BBC radio series Desperately Seeking Superstrings was broadcast. Thanks to good marketing and its inherently curious name and features, it’s now part…
Theoretical physics strives towards a (beautiful) description of everything. Jinx!

Explainer: Standard Model of Particle Physics

The “traditional” beauty of theoretical physics is its equations. If we want to describe something, or the way something behaves, we can write down a relation between some properties we think that thing…
You wouldn’t believe what modern telescopes can do. Professor Fumolatro/Flickr

Will we ever see the Big Bang?

Last week, scientists set a new distance record, seeing a burst of gamma-rays from a star that exploded when the universe was only 520 million years old. The light from this distant source has been travelling…

Rounding up electrons

A decade-long experiment has discovered electrons are “rounder” than expected. The experiment looked at electrons inside…
Would you behave differently if you knew when the crash was coming? Dave Hunt/AAP

Pop science: predicting the end of Australia’s property bubble

Economists and physicists may seem like unlikely bedfellows, but then opposites often attract. Their union has recently produced a peculiar baby, a field of research known as “econophysics”. Physicists…
As yet we can only guess what the Higgs boson might look like. DESY Zeuthen

Explainer: the Higgs boson particle

Theoretical physics is full of mysteries and unknowns. In the case of some particles, we can predict their existence even if we can’t find them. Such is the status of the Higgs boson. And yet detecting…

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