Physical Sciences

Unintelligent Design: Uncovering Bias in Artificial Intelligence

Evan Wroe and Felix Opolka speak to Dr Jennifer Cobbe about the causes of bias in machine learning models and how the associated risks can be mitigated. We are in the midst of an artificial intelligence revolution. This might come as a surprise, since we have  been trained by science fiction to expect an artificial intelligence revolution in the form of malevolent automatons taking over our streets.  In reality, the

Going Deep to Reach the Stars

Tatjana Baleta explores the deep sea and its relationship to outer space. Sixty-two feet below the turquoise waters off Key Largo, Florida, a helmeted figure explores the sea floor with gentle bounding steps. This “aquanaut” is a member of NEEMO, the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations project, and has been living underwater for three weeks, training to one day be an astronaut in space. A vast expanse of the unknown,

FOCUS: Our Place in the Universe

Maeve Madigan, Philip Clarke and João Melo explain the central concepts behind the 2019 Physics Nobel Prize. The first half of the prize, awarded for the detection of a planet orbiting a star like our own, teaches us about our cosmological neighbourhood as it is today. The second half, awarded for research on the understanding of our cosmological history, teaches us about where the Universe as we know it came from.

Tiny particles, huge computers

Laurence Cooper discusses computational methods and future technologies that can help us improve our understanding of particle physics. Laurence is a PhD student in theoretical physics at DAMTP, Cambridge. Look around. Take any object nearby and ask yourself: ‘What is this made from?’. Repeat it. My keyboard is made from plastic which is made from polymers which are made from smaller molecules, which are made from… Once you get to

Autonomous Vehicles: Looking at the Road Ahead

James Macdonald interviews Professor John Miles and start-up Wayve about the future of autonomous vehicles In the UK, there are 48 million driving license holders, around three-quarters of the population. The car has been a huge enabler of personal mobility across society and the ability to travel is a large part of the quality of life we now enjoy. But for such an embedded part of our culture there are

Scientists capture the first image of a black hole event horizon

Mrittunjoy Majumdar A network of eight radio telescopes spanning locations in various continents, from Antarctica to Europe and South America, called the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) has captured the first image of a black hole ever. In a project that involved more than 200 scientists, the latest achievement of the team marks a milestone in the study of the enigma that black holes are. Einstein’s general relativity first laid the theoretical groundwork for predicting the existence of black