Astronomy & Space

Astronomy may well be the oldest science of all, seeking answers to questions such as: "Where did it all come from?" and "Are we alone?" But, today's astronomers are focusing on phenomena our forbearers never imagined—planets orbiting other stars, for example; black holes the size of our solar system; galaxies being driven apart by invisible "dark energy"; ripples in the fabric of space and time; and of course the big bang, where time itself began.

The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope camera

Ranked as the top ground-based national priority for the field for the current decade, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) is currently under construction in Chile.

The nature of matter

If there's one thing that we think we understand, it's matter. After all, matter makes up everything around us; it even makes up you. However, all is not as it seems.

Why does time advance? Richard Muller's new theory

A simple question from his wife -- Does physics really allow people to travel back in time? -- propelled physicist Richard Muller on a quest to resolve a fundamental problem that had puzzled him throughout his 45-year career: Why does the arrow of time flow inexorably toward the future, constantly creating new "nows"?

When protons collide

A proton collision is like a car accident--except when it isn't. Boston University physicist Kevin Black explains why. (Watch out for the kitchen sink!)

Happy B-day NSF!

For more than six decades, the National Science Foundation has funded science and engineering research that has led to discoveries and innovations that transformed our world.

Science of Innovation: Origami structures

Origami is the ancient Japanese art of paper folding. But to engineer Mary Frecker of Pennsylvania State University, it is the future for designing tools that could be used in fields such as medicine and space exploration.

NSF Science Now: Episode 40

In this episode we create an ice storm lab, discover gravitational-waves, track the path of chemo drugs and, finally, test out new deep-sea ROV grippers for handling fragile coral and sponges.

Do we live in a multiverse?

In this video, Fermilab's Don Lincoln explains how the existence of a multiverse is a possible answer to the question of why the universe seems so well tuned for human life.

Kiss of death

In episode 26, Charlie and Jordan delve into the discovery of water on Mars, chat about a new Ebola field test and explore the immune system's "kiss of death."

GUTs and TOEs

Albert Einstein said that what he wanted to know was "God's thoughts," which is a metaphor for the ultimate and most basic rules of the universe.

Big mysteries: dark energy

Scientists were shocked in 1998 when the expansion of the universe wasn't slowing down as expected by our best understanding of gravity at the time; the expansion was speeding up!

Super strings

The quest to find the ultimate building blocks of nature is one of the oldest in all of physics. While we are far from knowing the answer to that question, one intriguing proposed answer is that all matter is composed of tiny "strings." The known particles are simply different vibrational patterns of these strings. In this video, Fermilab's Dr. Don Lincoln explains this idea, using interesting and accessible examples of real-world vibrations.

The island rule

In episode 18, Jordan and Charlie chat about the island rule, how spiral galaxies get their shape and the small brains in social wasps.