Tag Archives: twist

What is Planck-scale physics and why does it matter?

The Planck-scale physics story begins long ago. In 1901 German physicist Max Planck publishes an explanation for strange properties of radiant heat. He says its energy is quantized. In other words, it radiates in distinct little bits. He sees this as a mathematical convenience and doesn’t really believe it. His math requires a constant he […]

Twin mysteries: A ghostly fundamental particle and a physicist who disappeared after saying its antiparticle may not exist

Twin mysteries arose around 1937 when Italian theoretical physicist Ettore Majorana suggested neutrinos are their own antiparticles. Soon afterward he took the night ferry from Palermo to Napoli and vanished, leaving us to ask: What happened to him; and was he right? The Standard Model has a place for every known elementary particle. It says […]

This universal principle created all space and matter from the beginning of time. Today, it’s still creating strange phenomena around the world.

Emergence is the source of all the laws of physics. Strange spots called fairy circles illustrate the way emergence brings new fundamental properties into the world, including space and matter. There are millions of them. Bare patches in grasslands, remarkably well-defined, regular in shape and spacing, and ordered in a roughly-hexagonal array over long distances, […]

A mysterious new shape seems to say something fundamental about the nature of the universe. Can we understand its message?

Plato set out to explain everything with five perfect shapes. His theory died centuries ago. But in 2013 a shape called the amplituhedron burst upon the science scene. Physicists find it performs a miracle. But they don’t know how. The answer may hold a deep truth physics can sense but can’t quite find. Understanding the […]

Planck-scale physics needs to start with the beginning of the universe just like quantum theory started with the hydrogen atom

Planck-scale physics is not yet in its infancy. It is in gestation. Arranging a successful birth requires a strategic discipline. Walk before you try to run! For some reason (we will get to that) physicists seem doomed to run. Indeed—to milk the metaphor for maybe more than it is worth—they essay hundred-meter sprints before they […]