Amplituhedron May Shape the Future of Physics

This multidimensional shape can simplify certain quantum equations — and possibly also revolutionize physics.


Physicists have long struggled to understand exactly what happens after subatomic particles collide. For decades, the best tool involved basic sketches (called Feynman diagrams) of each possible result. For all but the simplest scenarios, this method fills pages with drawings and equations. 

A new computational insight in 2004 dramatically reduced the amount of paper required to describe a collision, and these new formulas combined multitudes of Feynman diagrams into a single mess of math. Last year, Princeton physicist Nima Arkani-Hamed was analyzing the formulas in search of a better way to simplify these quantum calculations. Using only pen and paper, he discovered a new kind of geometric shape called an amplituhedron — one that hints at a new way of seeing the universe...