How Light Is a Neutrino? The Answer Is Closer Than Ever

Physicists have taken a step towards nailing down the mass of the neutrino, perhaps the most mysterious of all elementary particles. The team at the Karlsruhe Tritium Neutrino (KATRIN) experiment in Germany reports that neutrinos have a maximum mass of 0.8 electron volts. Researchers have long had indirect evidence that the particles should be lighter … Read more

A Harvard Mathematician Has Basically Solved an Epic, 150-Year-Old Chess Problem

On one level, chess seems like a simple game: 64 individual black or white squares, 16 pieces per side, and two competitors striving for conquest. Dig a little deeper though, and the game offers incredibly complex possibilities, posing challenges to chess theorists and mathematicians that can go unsolved for decades or even centuries.   In … Read more

This New Record in Laser Beam Stability Could Help Answer Physics’ Biggest Questions

Scientists are on a mission to create a global network of atomic clocks that will enable us to, among other things, better understand the fundamental laws of physics, investigate dark matter, and navigate across Earth and space more precisely.   However, to be at their most effective, these clocks will need to be reliably and … Read more

A Newly Discovered Fossil Could Be The Answer to Darwin’s ‘Abominable’ Mystery

Scientists in China say they have found the oldest flower bud in the fossil record, finally aligning the fossil evidence with the genetic data suggesting flowering plants, or angiosperms, evolved tens of millions of years earlier than we initially thought.   The team hopes their discovery will help “ease the pain” around a nagging, centuries-old mystery that … Read more

Do Auroras Make Sounds We Can Hear? The True Answer Is Surprisingly Complicated

It’s a question that has puzzled observers for centuries: do the fantastic green and crimson light displays of the aurora borealis produce any discernible sound? Conjured by the interaction of solar particles with gas molecules in Earth’s atmosphere, the aurora generally occurs near Earth’s poles, where the magnetic field is strongest. Reports of the aurora … Read more