Textbooks say that the moon was formed after a Mars-size mass smashed the young Earth. But new evidence has cast doubt on that story, leaving researchers to dream up new ways to get a giant rock into orbit.
Take chemistry, add energy, get life. The first tests of Jeremy England’s provocative origin-of-life hypothesis are in, and they appear to show how order can arise from nothing.
Mathematical insights into how RNA helps viruses pull together their protein shells could guide future studies of viral behavior and function.
Supernova hunters were able to train their telescopes on a recent eruption just hours after it exploded. What they found only adds to the growing list of questions surrounding these cosmic blasts.
The team that discovered gravitational waves put their data online. Now an independent group of researchers claims that they’ve found what might be a serious problem.
Spiders appear to offload information processing tasks to their webs, leading some to suggest that a mind can be located outside of the head.
A series of observations at the very edge of the universe has reignited a debate over what lifted the primordial cosmic fog.
Until recently, the details of how exactly heat killed overheated cells were unknown.
As physicists extend the 19th-century laws of thermodynamics to the quantum realm, they’re rewriting the relationships among energy, entropy and information.
When a German retiree proved a famous long-standing mathematical conjecture, the response was underwhelming.
A new class of quantum particle is about to emerge from the tangled considerations of quantum statistics.
A decades-old method called the “bootstrap” is enabling new discoveries about the geometry underlying all quantum theories.
Scientists are uncovering how our bodies — and everything within them — tell right from left.
Life was long thought to obey its own set of rules. But as simple systems show signs of lifelike behavior, scientists are arguing about whether this apparent complexity is all a consequence of thermodynamics.
Proteins work like rigid keys to activate cellular functions — or so everyone thought. Scientists are discovering a huge number of proteins that shape-shift to do their work, upending a century-old maxim of biology.
Researchers have discovered that simple “chemically active” droplets grow to the size of cells and spontaneously divide, suggesting they might have evolved into the first living cells.
Is the brain a blank slate, or is it wired from birth to understand the world? An ambitious new study put infants into an MRI machine to reveal a neural organization similar to that of adults.
Physicists have failed to find disintegrating protons, throwing into limbo the beloved theory that the forces of nature were unified at the beginning of time.
A virus that causes crippling birth defects has been shown to do something else: It changes thousands of messages coming from DNA that control normal cellular activities.
A proposed theory of gravity does away with dark matter, even as new astrophysical findings challenge the need for galaxies full of the invisible mystery particles.