Natural Sciences

Prospects in Theoretical Physics is an intensive two-week summer program typically designed for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars considering a career in theoretical physics. First held by the School of Natural Sciences at the Institute...

On September 14, 2015, the two detectors of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) observed a gravitational-wave signal from the merger of a pair of black holes. While this impressive technological triumph was celebrated...

The Institute sometimes spends money on risky ventures, giving sustained support to people who work on unfashionable and dubious projects. One example of a risky venture was Einstein, who worked here for twenty years on unified field theories...

The next time you are enjoying the sun’s warm rays, think of the tremendous voyage those photons have taken to get to you. Traveling, by definition, at the speed of light they left their point of origin about eight minutes previously in a furious...

On July 14, 2015, the P5+1 group of world powers and Iran signed a comprehensive nuclear agreement, aiming to limit Iran’s ability to advance its nuclear program towards achieving nuclear weapons. Eli Waxman, Professor at the Weizmann Institute...

Matias Zaldarriaga, Professor in the School of Natural Sciences, Scott Tremaine, Richard Black Professor in the School, Member Doron Kushnir, and Junior Visiting Professor Nadia Zakamska discuss LIGO's recent detection of gravitational waves,...

Black holes are among the strangest predictions of Einstein’s general theory of relativity: regions of spacetime in which gravity is so strong that nothing—not even light—can escape. More precisely, a black hole is a singularity in spacetime...

Albert Einstein finished his general theory of relativity in November 1915, and in the hundred years since, its influence has been profound, dramatically influencing the direction of physics, cosmology, and mathematics. The theory upended Isaac...

“How big” is almost always an easier question to answer than “how old.” Though we can measure the sizes of animals and plants easily enough, we can often only guess at their ages. The same was long true of the cosmos. The ancient Greeks...

Five years ago, NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space ­Telescope saw more gamma rays than expected from the area around the center of our galaxy. Many scientists suggest that the extra gamma rays could be from the annihilation of dark matter particles....

The article by Wally Greenberg in the spring 2015 Institute Letter mentions the anomalous axial current triangle diagram and describes its connection with counting quark degrees of freedom. This derives from a calculation I did when a...

The Macdonald Equation is the most beautiful thing that I ever discovered. It belongs to the theory of numbers, the most useless and ancient branch of mathematics. My friend Ian Macdonald had the joy of discovering it first, and I had the almost...