Things get weird-spectacularly so-at the borderlands of physics. The rarefied realms described mathematically and sometimes glimpsed in experiments are all the more extraordinary for not being the mere products of someone's hyperactive imagination.
For instance, string theory's equations imply that the universe contains six extra dimensions, which are too tiny to have yet been detected. Some physicists also see innumerable theoretical universes in their equations. And although we perceive space and time as being continuous, quantum principles imply that, in fact, at the very smallest scales they actually come in pieces. The effects of this discrete structure could be revealed in experiments in the near future.
Intellectual enrichment aside, it might be tempting to think that none of what scientists are learning by probing the frontiers of physics truly matters in our everyday lives. Not so. As just one example, consider general relativity, which explains how gravity results from bends in the fabric of spacetime itself. To be accurate, commonplace GPS receivers-which calculate location using a constellation of orbiting satellites-must take the effects of general relativity into account.
In the pages of this special edition, we invite you to take an armchair journey through our curious universe, with our scientist authors as tour guides. You're in for a mind-boggling treat. -The Editors
Rethinking the Basic Laws of Nature
The Dawn of Physics beyond the Standard Model
by Gordon Kane
The Search for Relativity Violations
by Alan Kostelecky
Solving the Solar Neutrino Problem
by Arthur B. McDonald, Joshua R. Klein and David L. Wark
The Mysteries of Mass
by Gordon Kane
Tying Together the Universe with Strings and Loops
The String Theory Landscape
by Raphael Bousso and Joseph Polchinski
The Future of String Theory: A Conversation with Brian Greene
by George Musser
Atoms of Space and Time
by Lee Smolin
Insights into an Old Constant, a New Hologram and Time
A Cosmic Conundrum
by Lawrence M. Krauss and Michael S. Turner
Information in the Holographic Universe
by Jacob D. Bekenstein
That Mysterious Flow
by Paul Davies
* Special editions are not included in the regular subscription.
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