The Disappearing Physicist and His Elusive Particle
He ushered symmetry into theoretical physics, then vanished without a trace.
The Computer Maverick Who Modeled the Evolution of Life
Nils Aall Barricelli showed that organisms evolved by symbiosis and cooperation.
The Unique Neurology of the Sports Fan’s Brain
Why we get off on the game—and are better off for it.
The Spirit of the Inquisition Lives in Science
What a 16th-century scientist can tell us about the fate of a physicist like David Bohm.
Learning Chess at 40
What I learned trying to keep up with my 4-year-old daughter at the royal game.
What an Extinct Bird Re-Evolving Says About “Species”
You may have heard the news of what sounds like a resurrection story on the small island of Aldabra, off the coast of Madagascar. Around 136,000 years ago, the island was submerged in water and a layer of limestone captured the rails—a species of flightless bird—living there. The birds (and all other land species living on the island) went extinct. Recently, though, scientists reported that the bones of these fossilized rails are virtually indistinguishable from rails living on the island today. They are calling this an instance of iterative evolution—where the same species evolves multiple, distinct times.
Why Water Is Weird
What makes water behave anomalously is the presence of a particular arrangement of the water’s molecules
Why the Flow of Time Is an Illusion
Getting human feeling to match the math is an ultimate goal in physics.