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Stories by Lee Billings

Inflating the Universe with Prize-Winning Cosmologist David Spergel

This year’s Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics was awarded to the team behind NASA’s Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe, or WMAP, a space telescope that launched in 2001 to map the cosmic microwave background—the earliest, oldest light we can detect from the universe’s infancy. The WMAP team will split the $3 million award, with its leaders receiving the largest shares. One of those leaders, WMAP’s chief theorist David Spergel, sat down to speak with Scientific American about WMAP’s science and its legacy. 

December 4, 2017 — Lydia Chain, Michael D. Lemonick and Lee Billings

Neutron Star Collisions Create Gold

Astrophysicists searching for gravitational waves have finally learned what happens when you crash two neutron stars together--and it's very, very shiny.

October 17, 2017 — Lydia Chain, Lee Billings and Michael D. Lemonick

Gravitational Wave Astronomers Hit Mother Lode

Spacetime ripples from a stellar cataclysm in a distant galaxy help explain the cosmic origins of gold, and chart the course for a new age of “multi-messenger” astronomy

October 16, 2017 — Lee Billings

Witness the Solar Eclipse without Frying Your Eyes or Your Camera

America is preparing for a sea-to-shining-sea solar eclipse. Here’s how you can watch the spectacular display, and maybe even snap a photo to commemorate the event, without burning your retinas or damaging your camera’s optics.

July 27, 2017 — Lydia Chain, Michael Lemonick and Lee Billings
Stories by Lee Billings

Think Outside the Gift Box