Charles Petit

All Stories by Charles Petit

  1. illustration of SPIDER scope

    SPIDER shrinks telescopes with far-out design

    Researchers hope new approach to interferometry and photonics will replace standard telescopes and long-range cameras where room is scarce.

  2. A corn processing plant in Illinois

    Pumping carbon dioxide deep underground may trigger earthquakes

    Injecting carbon dioxide deep underground offers a promising way to curb global warming, but the extra pressure may cause faults to slip or fractures to release the buried gas.

  3. Physics

    Heart of the Matter

    Neutrinos’ shifty behavior might help explain why the universe has so much stuff in it.

  4. Climate

    Soil’s Hidden Secrets

  5. Physics

    The Ultimate Clock

    Time is an ancient and contrary mystery. Augustine of Hippo, writing his Confessions in a North African monastery, asked “Who can even in thought comprehend it, so as to utter a word about it? But what in discourse do we mention more familiarly and knowingly, than time?” In what’s called an “optical lattice clock,” thousands […]

  6. Astronomy

    Stellar oddballs

    After mind-bendingly precise data and artists’ renditions of mysterious stars played across the screen, Martin Still leaned into his lectern at an American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting early this year to deliver a plea to fellow astronomers. In one word: Help! The Kepler team wants outside astronomers to further study strange stars […]

  7. Continental Hearts

    When Viennese geologist Leopold Kober gave geology a new word — kratogen, soon shortened to craton — for the flat, stony interiors of continents, he thought such places to be among the duller places for geological study. For him, the more flexible expanses of crust he called orogens, full of rising mountains and earthquake faults, […]

  8. Astronomy

    Black hole silhouettes

  9. Life from scratch

    A short stroll from Boston’s Charles River, behind a sheath of blue glass on the seventh floor of a Harvard Medical School research building, Jack Szostak is getting set to replay the greatest event on Earth. LIFE FROM SCRATCH By creating vesicles containing proto-genetic material (depicted in this computer graphic), researchers are trying to watch […]

  10. In Pursuit of the Briefest Beat

    In his mind, Paul Corkum envisioned a dramatic thriller. Its actors were the pulsating electric fields of ordinary infrared laser beams and the electrons of atoms in the laser’s path. As the plot unfolded, a puzzle would be resolved — opening, he realized, a new frontier in the measurement of the ultrafast and the ultrabrief. […]

  11. Quantum on Quantum

    Almost three decades ago, Richard Feynman — known popularly as much for his bongo drumming and pranks as for his brilliant insights into physics — told an electrified audience at MIT how to build a computer so powerful that its simulations “will do exactly the same as nature.” Not approximately, as digital computers tend to […]

  12. Physics

    Quantum computer simulates hydrogen molecule just right

    Team builds device that uses two photons to calculate electron energies.