Quanta Science Podcast

By Quanta Magazine

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 Sep 30, 2021


 Sep 12, 2021

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In-depth news about mathematics, physics, biology and computer science. Read more at QuantaMagazine.org.

Episode Date
New Map of Meaning in the Brain Changes Ideas About Memory
1182
Researchers have mapped hundreds of semantic categories to the tiny bits of the cortex that represent them in our thoughts and perceptions. What they discovered might change our view of memory.

The post New Map of Meaning in the Brain Changes Ideas About Memory first appeared on Quanta Magazine

May 11, 2022
Machine Learning Gets a Quantum Speedup
1233
Two teams have shown how quantum approaches can solve problems faster than classical computers, bringing physics and computer science closer together.

The post Machine Learning Gets a Quantum Speedup first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Apr 27, 2022
Secrets of Early Animal Evolution Revealed by Chromosome 'Tectonics'
1102
Large blocks of genes conserved through hundreds of millions of years of evolution hint at how the first animal chromosomes came to be.

The post Secrets of Early Animal Evolution Revealed by Chromosome ‘Tectonics’ first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Apr 14, 2022
A Solution to the Faint-Sun Paradox Reveals a Narrow Window for Life
1520
We might have a past faint sun to owe for life’s existence. This has consequences for the possibility of life outside Earth.

The post A Solution to the Faint-Sun Paradox Reveals a Narrow Window for Life first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Mar 31, 2022
Evolution 'Landscapes' Predict What's Next for COVID Virus
1528
Studies that map the adaptive value of viral mutations hint at how the COVID-19 pandemic might progress next.

The post Evolution ‘Landscapes’ Predict What’s Next for COVID Virus first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Mar 18, 2022
Flying Fish and Aquarium Pets Yield Secrets of Evolution
1019
New studies reveal the ancient, shared genetic “grammar” underpinning the diverse evolution of fish fins and tetrapod limbs.

The post Flying Fish and Aquarium Pets Yield Secrets of Evolution first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Mar 03, 2022
Mathematicians Outwit Hidden Number Conspiracy
1288
Decades ago, a mathematician posed a warmup problem for some of the most difficult questions about prime numbers. It turned out to be just as difficult to solve, until now.

The post Mathematicians Outwit Hidden Number Conspiracy first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Feb 17, 2022
Mathematician Hurls Structure and Disorder Into Century-Old Problem
1027
A new paper shows how to create longer disordered strings than mathematicians had thought possible, proving that a well-known recent conjecture is “spectacularly wrong.”

The post Mathematician Hurls Structure and Disorder Into Century-Old Problem first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Feb 03, 2022
Researchers Defeat Randomness to Create Ideal Code
1414
By carefully constructing a multidimensional and well-connected graph, a team of researchers has finally created a long-sought locally testable code that can immediately betray whether it’s been corrupted.

The post Researchers Defeat Randomness to Create Ideal Code first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Jan 20, 2022
The Brain Processes Speech in Parallel With Other Sounds
1166
Scientists thought that the brain’s hearing centers might just process speech along with other sounds. But new work suggests that speech gets some special treatment very early on.

The post The Brain Processes Speech in Parallel With Other Sounds first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Jan 06, 2022
Biologists Rethink the Logic Behind Cells' Molecular Signals
1492
The molecular signaling systems of complex cells are nothing like simple electronic circuits. The logic governing their operation is riotously complex — but it has advantages.

The post Biologists Rethink the Logic Behind Cells’ Molecular Signals first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Dec 23, 2021
A Massive Subterranean ‘Tree’ Is Moving Magma to Earth’s Surface
1360
Deep in the mantle, a branching plume of intensely hot material appears to be the engine powering vast volcanic activity.

The post A Massive Subterranean ‘Tree’ Is Moving Magma to Earth’s Surface first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Dec 09, 2021
One Lab’s Quest to Build Space-Time Out of Quantum Particles
1290
For over two decades, physicists have pondered how the fabric of space-time may emerge from some kind of quantum entanglement. In Monika Schleier-Smith’s lab at Stanford University, the thought experiment is becoming real.

The post One Lab’s Quest to Build Space-Time Out of Quantum Particles first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Nov 24, 2021
The New Thermodynamic Understanding of Clocks
1093
Investigations of the simplest possible clocks have revealed their fundamental limitations — as well as insights into the nature of time itself.

The post The New Thermodynamic Understanding of Clocks first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Nov 11, 2021
The Brain Doesn’t Think the Way You Think It Does
1614
Familiar categories of mental functions such as perception, memory and attention reflect our experience of ourselves, but they are misleading about how the brain works. More revealing approaches are emerging.

The post The Brain Doesn’t Think the Way You Think It Does first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Oct 28, 2021
Eternal Change for No Energy: A Time Crystal Finally Made Real
1340
Like a perpetual motion machine, a time crystal forever cycles between states without consuming energy. Physicists claim to have built this new phase of matter inside a quantum computer.

The post Eternal Change for No Energy: A Time Crystal Finally Made Real first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Oct 14, 2021
How Many Numbers Exist? Infinity Proof Moves Math Closer to an Answer.
1662
For 50 years, mathematicians have believed that the total number of real numbers is unknowable. A new proof suggests otherwise.

The post How Many Numbers Exist? Infinity Proof Moves Math Closer to an Answer. first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Sep 30, 2021
DNA Has Four Bases. Some Viruses Swap in a Fifth.
900
The DNA of some viruses doesn’t use the same four nucleotide bases found in all other life. New work shows how this exception is possible and hints that it could be more common than we think.

The post DNA Has Four Bases. Some Viruses Swap in a Fifth. first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Sep 16, 2021
The Mystery at the Heart of Physics That Only Math Can Solve
2206
The accelerating effort to understand the mathematics of quantum field theory will have profound consequences for both math and physics.

The post The Mystery at the Heart of Physics That Only Math Can Solve first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Sep 02, 2021
Radioactivity May Fuel Life Deep Underground and Inside Other Worlds
1416
New work suggests that the radiolytic splitting of water supports giant subsurface ecosystems of life on Earth — and could do it elsewhere, too.

The post Radioactivity May Fuel Life Deep Underground and Inside Other Worlds first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Aug 19, 2021
DNA of Giant ‘Corpse Flower’ Parasite Surprises Biologists
1446
The bizarre genome of the world’s most mysterious flowering plants shows how far parasites will go in stealing, deleting and duplicating DNA.

The post DNA of Giant ‘Corpse Flower’ Parasite Surprises Biologists first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Aug 05, 2021
Scientists Pin Down When Earth’s Crust Cracked, Then Came to Life
1277
New data indicating that Earth’s surface broke up about 3.2 billion years ago helps clarify how plate tectonics drove the evolution of complex life.

The post Scientists Pin Down When Earth’s Crust Cracked, Then Came to Life first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Jul 22, 2021
A New Twist Reveals Superconductivity’s Secrets
1274
An unexpected superconductor was beginning to look like a fluke, but a new theory and a second discovery have revealed that emergent quasiparticles may be behind the effect.

The post A New Twist Reveals Superconductivity’s Secrets first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Jul 08, 2021
Statistics Postdoc Tames Decades-Old Geometry Problem
1292
To the surprise of experts in the field, a postdoctoral statistician has solved one of the most important problems in high-dimensional convex geometry.

The post Statistics Postdoc Tames Decades-Old Geometry Problem first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Jun 24, 2021
Mathematicians Set Numbers in Motion to Unlock Their Secrets
1573
A new proof demonstrates the power of arithmetic dynamics, an emerging discipline that combines insights from number theory and dynamical systems.

The post Mathematicians Set Numbers in Motion to Unlock Their Secrets first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Jun 10, 2021
Artificial Neural Nets Finally Yield Clues to How Brains Learn
1222
The learning algorithm that enables the runaway success of deep neural networks doesn’t work in biological brains, but researchers are finding alternatives that could.

The post Artificial Neural Nets Finally Yield Clues to How Brains Learn first appeared on Quanta Magazine

May 27, 2021
Brain’s ‘Background Noise’ May Hold Clues to Persistent Mysteries
1711
By digging out signals hidden within the brain’s electrical chatter, scientists are getting new insights into sleep, aging and more.

The post Brain’s ‘Background Noise’ May Hold Clues to Persistent Mysteries first appeared on Quanta Magazine

May 13, 2021
Rumbles on Mars Raise Hopes of Underground Magma Flows
1348
Small and cold, Mars has long been considered a dead planet. But a series of recent discoveries has forced scientists to rethink how recently its insides stopped churning — if they ever stopped at all.

The post Rumbles on Mars Raise Hopes of Underground Magma Flows first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Apr 29, 2021
Mathematicians Resurrect Hilbert’s 13th Problem
1210
Long considered solved, David Hilbert’s question about seventh-degree polynomials is leading researchers to a new web of mathematical connections.

The post Mathematicians Resurrect Hilbert’s 13th Problem first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Apr 15, 2021
A Newfound Source of Cellular Order in the Chemistry of Life
1689
Inside cells, droplets of biomolecules called condensates merge, divide and dissolve. Their dance may regulate vital processes.

The post A Newfound Source of Cellular Order in the Chemistry of Life first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Apr 01, 2021
The Mystery of Mistletoe’s Missing Genes
770
Mistletoes have all but shut down the powerhouses of their cells. Scientists are still trying to understand the plants’ unorthodox survival strategy.

The post The Mystery of Mistletoe’s Missing Genes first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Mar 18, 2021
The New History of the Milky Way
977
Over the past two years, astronomers have rewritten the story of our galaxy.

The post The New History of the Milky Way first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Mar 04, 2021
Scientists Uncover the Universal Geometry of Geology
1396
An exercise in pure mathematics has led to a wide-ranging theory of how the world comes together.

The post Scientists Uncover the Universal Geometry of Geology first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Feb 18, 2021
The Most Famous Paradox in Physics Nears Its End
2253
In a landmark series of calculations, physicists have proved that black holes can shed information.

The post The Most Famous Paradox in Physics Nears Its End first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Feb 04, 2021
Quantum Tunnels Show How Particles Can Break the Speed of Light
1358
Recent experiments show that particles should be able to go faster than light when they quantum mechanically “tunnel” through walls.

The post Quantum Tunnels Show How Particles Can Break the Speed of Light first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Jan 21, 2021
Computer Scientists Break Traveling Salesperson Record
1151
After 44 years, there’s finally a better way to find approximate solutions to the notoriously difficult traveling salesperson problem.

The post Computer Scientists Break Traveling Salesperson Record first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Jan 07, 2021
Mitochondria May Hold Keys to Anxiety and Mental Health
1077
Research hints that the energy-generating organelles of cells may play a surprisingly pivotal role in mediating anxiety and depression.

The post Mitochondria May Hold Keys to Anxiety and Mental Health first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Dec 16, 2020
The Hidden Magnetic Universe Begins to Come Into View
1335
Astronomers are discovering that magnetic fields permeate much of the cosmos. If these fields date back to the Big Bang, they could solve a major cosmological mystery.

The post The Hidden Magnetic Universe Begins to Come Into View first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Dec 03, 2020
Graduate Student Solves Decades-Old Conway Knot Problem
1000
It took Lisa Piccirillo less than a week to answer a long-standing question about a strange knot discovered over half a century ago by the legendary John Conway.

The post Graduate Student Solves Decades-Old Conway Knot Problem first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Nov 19, 2020
The Grand Unified Theory of Rogue Waves
1140
Rogue waves — enigmatic giants of the sea — were thought to be caused by two different mechanisms. But a new idea that borrows from the hinterlands of probability theory has the potential to predict them all.

The post The Grand Unified Theory of Rogue Waves first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Nov 05, 2020
Hidden Computational Power Found in the Arms of Neurons
1036
The dendritic arms of some human neurons can perform logic operations that once seemed to require whole neural networks.

The post Hidden Computational Power Found in the Arms of Neurons first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Oct 22, 2020
Neutrinos Lead to Unexpected Discovery in Basic Math
1066
Three physicists stumbled across an unexpected relationship between some of the most ubiquitous objects in math.

The post Neutrinos Lead to Unexpected Discovery in Basic Math first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Oct 08, 2020
Machines Beat Humans on a Reading Test. But Do They Understand?
1884
A tool known as BERT can now beat humans on advanced reading-comprehension tests. But it's also revealed how far AI has to go.

The post Machines Beat Humans on a Reading Test. But Do They Understand? first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Sep 24, 2020
How Jurassic Plankton Stole Control of the Ocean’s Chemistry
983
Only 170 million years ago, new plankton evolved. Their demand for carbon and calcium permanently transformed the seas as homes for life.

The post How Jurassic Plankton Stole Control of the Ocean’s Chemistry first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Sep 10, 2020
To Pay Attention, the Brain Uses Filters, Not a Spotlight
1157
A brain circuit that suppresses distracting sensory information holds important clues about attention and other cognitive processes.

The post To Pay Attention, the Brain Uses Filters, Not a Spotlight first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Aug 27, 2020
Fossil DNA Reveals New Twists in Modern Human Origins
1227
Modern humans and more ancient hominins interbred many times throughout Eurasia and Africa, and the genetic flow went both ways.

The post Fossil DNA Reveals New Twists in Modern Human Origins first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Aug 12, 2020
For Embryo’s Cells, Size Can Determine Fate
934
Modeling suggests that many embryonic cells commit to a developmental fate when they become too small to divide unevenly anymore.

The post For Embryo’s Cells, Size Can Determine Fate first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Jul 30, 2020
Scientists Debate the Origin of Cell Types in the First Animals
1121
Theories about how animals became multicellular are shifting as researchers find greater complexity in our single-celled ancestors.

The post Scientists Debate the Origin of Cell Types in the First Animals first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Jul 16, 2020
Wandering Space Rocks Help Solve Mysteries of Planet Formation
902
After an interstellar asteroid shot past the sun, scientists realized that there’s probably a lot of itinerant rocks out there.

The post Wandering Space Rocks Help Solve Mysteries of Planet Formation first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Jul 02, 2020
Random Surfaces Hide an Intricate Order
747
Mathematicians have proved that a random process applied to a random surface will yield consistent patterns.

The post Random Surfaces Hide an Intricate Order first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Jun 18, 2020
Where We See Shapes, AI Sees Textures
959
To researchers’ surprise, deep learning vision algorithms often fail at classifying images because they mostly take cues from textures, not shapes.

The post Where We See Shapes, AI Sees Textures first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Jun 04, 2020
What’s in a Name? Taxonomy Problems Vex Biologists
1503
Researchers struggle to incorporate ongoing evolutionary discoveries into an animal classification scheme older than Darwin.

The post What’s in a Name? Taxonomy Problems Vex Biologists first appeared on Quanta Magazine

May 21, 2020
Bacterial Complexity Revises Ideas About ‘Which Came First?’
1245
Contrary to popular belief, bacteria have organelles too. Scientists are now studying them for insights into how complex cells evolved.

The post Bacterial Complexity Revises Ideas About ‘Which Came First?’ first appeared on Quanta Magazine

May 07, 2020
Ancient DNA Yields Snapshots of Vanished Ecosystems
1457
Surviving fragments of genetic material preserved in sediments allow scientists to see the full diversity of past life — even microbes.

The post Ancient DNA Yields Snapshots of Vanished Ecosystems first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Apr 23, 2020
Computer Scientists Expand the Frontier of Verifiable Knowledge
1019
The universe of problems that a computer can check has grown. The researchers’ secret ingredient? Quantum entanglement.

The post Computer Scientists Expand the Frontier of Verifiable Knowledge first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Apr 09, 2020
The Hidden Heroines of Chaos
Two women programmers played a pivotal role in the birth of chaos theory. Their previously untold story illustrates the changing status of computation in science.

The post The Hidden Heroines of Chaos first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Mar 26, 2020
Heat-Loving Microbes, Once Dormant, Thrive Over Decades-Old Fire
1685
In harsh ecosystems around the world, microbiologists are finding evidence that “microbial seed banks” protect biodiversity from changing conditions.

The post Heat-Loving Microbes, Once Dormant, Thrive Over Decades-Old Fire first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Mar 12, 2020
Scientists Discover Exotic New Patterns of Synchronization
1412
In a world seemingly filled with chaos, physicists have discovered new forms of synchronization and are learning how to predict and control them.

The post Scientists Discover Exotic New Patterns of Synchronization first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Feb 27, 2020
Cryptography That Is Provably Secure
718
Researchers have just released hacker-proof cryptographic code — programs with the same level of invincibility as a mathematical proof.

The post Cryptography That Is Provably Secure first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Feb 06, 2020
The Math That Tells Cells What They Are
1041
During development, cells seem to decode their fate through optimal information processing, which could hint at a more general principle of life.

The post The Math That Tells Cells What They Are first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Jan 30, 2020
How Artificial Intelligence Is Changing Science
1342
The latest AI algorithms are probing the evolution of galaxies, calculating quantum wave functions, discovering new chemical compounds and more. Is there anything that scientists do that can’t be automated?

The post How Artificial Intelligence Is Changing Science first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Jan 16, 2020
A World Without Clouds
1577
A state-of-the-art supercomputer simulation indicates that a feedback loop between global warming and cloud loss can push Earth’s climate past a disastrous tipping point in as little as a century.

The post A World Without Clouds first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Jan 02, 2020
How the Brain Creates a Timeline of the Past
956
The brain can’t directly encode the passage of time, but recent work hints at a workaround for putting timestamps on memories of events.

The post How the Brain Creates a Timeline of the Past first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Dec 19, 2019
Foundations Built for a General Theory of Neural Networks
1003
Neural networks can be as unpredictable as they are powerful. Now mathematicians are beginning to reveal how a neural network’s form will influence its function.

The post Foundations Built for a General Theory of Neural Networks first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Dec 05, 2019
The Brain Maps Out Ideas and Memories Like Spaces
1506
Emerging evidence suggests that the brain encodes abstract knowledge in the same way that it represents positions in space, which hints at a more universal theory of cognition.

The post The Brain Maps Out Ideas and Memories Like Spaces first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Nov 21, 2019
Milestone Experiment Proves Quantum Communication Really Is Faster
658
In a Paris lab, researchers have shown for the first time that quantum methods of transmitting information are superior to classical ones.

The post Milestone Experiment Proves Quantum Communication Really Is Faster first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Nov 07, 2019
Mathematical Simplicity May Drive Evolution’s Speed
1131
Some researchers are using a complexity framework thought to be purely theoretical to understand evolutionary dynamics in biological and computational systems.

The post Mathematical Simplicity May Drive Evolution’s Speed first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Oct 31, 2019
Should Evolution Treat Our Microbes as Part of Us?
1519
How does evolution select the fittest “individuals” when they are ecosystems made up of hosts and their microbiomes? Biologist debate the need to revise theories.

The post Should Evolution Treat Our Microbes as Part of Us? first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Sep 26, 2019
A Universal Law for the ‘Blood of the Earth’
889
Simple physical principles can be used to describe how rivers grow everywhere from Florida to Mars.

The post A Universal Law for the ‘Blood of the Earth’ first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Sep 26, 2019
Amateur Mathematician Finds Smallest Universal Cover
706
Through exacting geometric calculations, Philip Gibbs has found the smallest known cover for any possible shape.

The post Amateur Mathematician Finds Smallest Universal Cover first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Sep 06, 2019
In the Nucleus, Genes’ Activity Might Depend on Their Location
912
Using a new CRISPR-based technique, researchers are examining how the position of DNA within the nucleus affects gene expression and cell function.

The post In the Nucleus, Genes’ Activity Might Depend on Their Location first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Aug 29, 2019
Machine Learning Confronts the Elephant in the Room
739
A visual prank exposes an Achilles’ heel of computer vision systems: Unlike humans, they can’t do a double take.

The post Machine Learning Confronts the Elephant in the Room first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Aug 15, 2019
The New Science of Seeing Around Corners
1187
Computer vision researchers have uncovered a world of visual signals hiding in our midst, including subtle motions that betray what’s being said and faint images of what’s around a corner.

The post The New Science of Seeing Around Corners first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Aug 01, 2019
Major Quantum Computing Advance Made Obsolete by Teenager
864
18-year-old Ewin Tang has proven that classical computers can solve the “recommendation problem” nearly as fast as quantum computers. The result eliminates one of the best examples of quantum speedup.

The post Major Quantum Computing Advance Made Obsolete by Teenager first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Jul 18, 2019
A Math Theory for Why People Hallucinate
1425
Psychedelic drugs can trigger characteristic hallucinations, which have long been thought to hold clues about the brain’s circuitry. After nearly a century of study, a possible explanation is crystallizing.

The post A Math Theory for Why People Hallucinate first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Jul 05, 2019
Closed Loophole Confirms the Unreality of the Quantum World
1100
A quickly closed loophole has proved that the “great smoky dragon” of quantum mechanics may forever elude capture.

The post Closed Loophole Confirms the Unreality of the Quantum World first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Jun 20, 2019
To Remember, the Brain Must Actively Forget
1179
Researchers find evidence that neural systems actively remove memories, suggesting that forgetting may be the default mode of the brain.

The post To Remember, the Brain Must Actively Forget first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Jun 06, 2019
The Peculiar Math That Could Underlie the Laws of Nature
1587
New findings are fueling an old suspicion that fundamental particles and forces spring from strange eight-part numbers called “octonions.”

The post The Peculiar Math That Could Underlie the Laws of Nature first appeared on Quanta Magazine

May 23, 2019
To Make Sense of the Present, Brains May Predict the Future
1792
A controversial theory suggests that perception, motor control, memory and other brain functions all depend on comparisons between ongoing actual experiences and the brain’s modeled expectations.

The post To Make Sense of the Present, Brains May Predict the Future first appeared on Quanta Magazine

May 09, 2019
Finally, a Problem That Only Quantum Computers Will Ever Be Able to Solve
710
Computer scientists have been searching for years for a type of problem that a quantum computer can solve but that any possible future classical computer cannot. Now they’ve found one.

The post Finally, a Problem That Only Quantum Computers Will Ever Be Able to Solve first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Apr 25, 2019
Why Earth’s Cracked Crust May Be Essential for Life
1607
Life needs more than water alone. Recent discoveries suggest that plate tectonics has played a critical role in nourishing life on Earth. The findings carry major consequences for the search for life elsewhere in the universe.

The post Why Earth’s Cracked Crust May Be Essential for Life first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Apr 11, 2019
Overtaxed Working Memory Knocks the Brain Out of Sync
832
Researchers find that when working memory gets overburdened, dialogue between three brain regions breaks down. The discovery provides new support for a larger concept about how the brain works.

The post Overtaxed Working Memory Knocks the Brain Out of Sync first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Mar 28, 2019
A New World’s Extraordinary Orbit Points to Planet Nine
551
Astronomers argue that there’s an undiscovered giant planet far beyond the orbit of Neptune. A newly discovered rocky body has added evidence to the circumstantial case for it.

The post A New World’s Extraordinary Orbit Points to Planet Nine first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Mar 14, 2019
A Thermodynamic Answer to Why Birds Migrate
1039
New modeling studies suggest that birds migrate to strike a favorable balance between their input and output of energy.

The post A Thermodynamic Answer to Why Birds Migrate first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Feb 28, 2019
Machine Learning’s ‘Amazing’ Ability to Predict Chaos
1208
In new computer experiments, artificial-intelligence algorithms can tell the future of chaotic systems.

The post Machine Learning’s ‘Amazing’ Ability to Predict Chaos first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Feb 14, 2019
Decades-Old Graph Problem Yields to Amateur Mathematician
539
By making the first progress on the “chromatic number of the plane” problem in over 60 years, an anti-aging pundit has achieved mathematical immortality.

The post Decades-Old Graph Problem Yields to Amateur Mathematician first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Jan 31, 2019
Oxygen and Stem Cells May Have Reshaped Early Complex Animals
990
An unlikely team offers a controversial hypothesis about what enabled animal life to get more complex during the Cambrian explosion.

The post Oxygen and Stem Cells May Have Reshaped Early Complex Animals first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Jan 03, 2019
To Test Einstein’s Equations, Poke a Black Hole
990
Two teams of researchers have made significant progress toward proving the black hole stability conjecture, a critical mathematical test of Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

The post To Test Einstein’s Equations, Poke a Black Hole first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Jan 03, 2019
Physicists Find a Way to See the ‘Grin’ of Quantum Gravity
1257
A recently proposed experiment would confirm that gravity is a quantum force.

The post Physicists Find a Way to See the ‘Grin’ of Quantum Gravity first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Dec 06, 2018
Quanta Writers and Editors Discuss Trends in Science and Math
3934
On November 16, 2018, more than 200 readers joined writers and editors from Quanta Magazine for a wide-ranging panel discussion that examined the newest ideas in fundamental physics, biology and mathematics research.

The post Quanta Writers and Editors Discuss Trends in Science and Math first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Nov 22, 2018
Why Don’t Patients Get Sick in Sync? Modelers Find Statistical Clues.
682
The long, variable times that some diseases incubate after infection defies simple explanation. An idealized model of tumor growth offers a statistical solution.

The post Why Don’t Patients Get Sick in Sync? Modelers Find Statistical Clues. first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Nov 08, 2018
Why Artificial Intelligence Like AlphaZero Has Trouble With the Real World
1237
The latest artificial intelligence systems start from zero knowledge of a game and grow to world-beating in a matter of hours. But researchers are struggling to apply these systems beyond the arcade.

The post Why Artificial Intelligence Like AlphaZero Has Trouble With the Real World first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Oct 25, 2018
Scant Evidence of Power Laws Found in Real-World Networks
1307
A new study challenges one of the most celebrated and controversial ideas in network science.

The post Scant Evidence of Power Laws Found in Real-World Networks first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Oct 11, 2018
Smart Swarms Seek New Ways to Cooperate
967
New algorithms show how swarms of very simple robots can be made to work together as a group.

The post Smart Swarms Seek New Ways to Cooperate first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Sep 27, 2018
How the Universe Got Its Bounce Back
1337
Cosmologists have shown that it’s theoretically possible for a contracting universe to bounce and expand. The new work resuscitates an old idea that directly challenges the Big Bang theory of cosmic origins.

The post How the Universe Got Its Bounce Back first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Aug 30, 2018
A Domesticated Dingo? No, but Some Are Getting Less Wild
1022
Near an Australian desert mining camp, wild dingoes are losing their fear of humans. Their genetic and behavioral changes may echo those from the domestication of dogs.

The post A Domesticated Dingo? No, but Some Are Getting Less Wild first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Aug 09, 2018
Fossil Discoveries Challenge Ideas About Earth’s Start
1179
A series of fossil finds suggests that life on Earth started earlier than anyone thought, calling into question a widely held theory of the solar system’s beginnings.

The post Fossil Discoveries Challenge Ideas About Earth’s Start first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Jul 05, 2018
Mathematicians Find Wrinkle in Famed Fluid Equations
990
Two mathematicians prove that under certain extreme conditions, the Navier-Stokes equations output nonsense.

The post Mathematicians Find Wrinkle in Famed Fluid Equations first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Jun 21, 2018
Light-Triggered Genes Reveal the Hidden Workings of Memory
957
Nobel laureate Susumu Tonegawa’s lab is overturning old assumptions about how memories form, how recall works and whether lost memories might be restored from "silent engrams."

The post Light-Triggered Genes Reveal the Hidden Workings of Memory first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Jun 07, 2018
Secret Link Uncovered Between Pure Math and Physics
1172
An eminent mathematician reveals that his advances in the study of millennia-old mathematical questions owe to concepts derived from physics.

The post Secret Link Uncovered Between Pure Math and Physics first appeared on Quanta Magazine

May 31, 2018
How Bacteria Help Regulate Blood Pressure
530
Kidneys sniff out signals from gut bacteria for cues to lower blood pressure after meals. Our understanding of how the symbiotic microbes affect health is becoming much more molecular.

The post How Bacteria Help Regulate Blood Pressure first appeared on Quanta Magazine

May 10, 2018
Choosy Eggs May Pick Sperm for Their Genes, Defying Mendel’s Law
925
The oldest law of genetics says that gametes combine randomly, but experiments hint that sometimes eggs select sperm actively for their genetic assets.

The post Choosy Eggs May Pick Sperm for Their Genes, Defying Mendel’s Law first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Apr 26, 2018
A Zombie Gene Protects Elephants From Cancer
625
Elephants did not evolve to become huge animals until after they turned a bit of genetic junk into a unique defense against inevitable tumors.

The post A Zombie Gene Protects Elephants From Cancer first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Apr 12, 2018
Best-Ever Algorithm Found for Huge Streams of Data
930
To efficiently analyze a firehose of data, scientists first have to break big numbers into bits.

The post Best-Ever Algorithm Found for Huge Streams of Data first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Mar 29, 2018
Newfound Wormhole Allows Information to Escape Black Holes
972
Physicists theorize that a new “traversable” kind of wormhole could resolve a baffling paradox and rescue information that falls into black holes.

The post Newfound Wormhole Allows Information to Escape Black Holes first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Mar 15, 2018
Brainless Embryos Suggest Bioelectricity Guides Growth
1246
Researchers are building a case that long before the nervous system works, the brain sends crucial bioelectric signals to guide the growth of embryonic tissues.

The post Brainless Embryos Suggest Bioelectricity Guides Growth first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Mar 13, 2018
New Theory Cracks Open the Black Box of Deep Learning
957
A new idea is helping to explain the puzzling success of today’s artificial-intelligence algorithms — and might also explain how human brains learn.

The post New Theory Cracks Open the Black Box of Deep Learning first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Mar 01, 2018
Clever Machines Learn How to Be Curious
1164
Computer scientists are finding ways to code curiosity into intelligent machines.

The post Clever Machines Learn How to Be Curious first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Feb 16, 2018
Mathematicians Tame Rogue Waves, Lighting Up Future of LEDs
846
The mathematician Svitlana Mayboroda and collaborators have figured out how to predict the behavior of electrons — a mathematical discovery that could have immediate practical effects.

The post Mathematicians Tame Rogue Waves, Lighting Up Future of LEDs first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Feb 01, 2018
Interspecies Hybrids Play a Vital Role in Evolution
1072
Hybrids, once treated as biological misfits, play a vital role in the evolution of many animal species. Now conservationists are trying to reconcile that truth with policies.

The post Interspecies Hybrids Play a Vital Role in Evolution first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Jan 18, 2018
What Made the Moon? New Ideas Try to Rescue a Troubled Theory
1281
Textbooks say that the moon was formed after a Mars-size mass smashed the young Earth. But new evidence has cast doubt on that story, leaving researchers to dream up new ways to get a giant rock into orbit.

The post What Made the Moon? New Ideas Try to Rescue a Troubled Theory first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Nov 17, 2017
In Game Theory, No Clear Path to Equilibrium
932
John Nash’s notion of equilibrium is ubiquitous in economic theory, but a new study shows that it is often impossible to reach efficiently.

The post In Game Theory, No Clear Path to Equilibrium first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Oct 12, 2017
Pentagon Tiling Proof Solves Century-Old Math Problem
644
A French mathematician has completed the classification of all convex pentagons, and therefore all convex polygons, that tile the plane.

The post Pentagon Tiling Proof Solves Century-Old Math Problem first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Sep 21, 2017
Can Microbes Encourage Altruism?
943
If gut bacteria can sway their hosts to be selfless, it could answer a riddle that goes back to Darwin.

The post Can Microbes Encourage Altruism? first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Aug 31, 2017
Dark Matter Recipe Calls for One Part Superfluid
878
A different kind of dark matter could help to resolve an old celestial conundrum.

The post Dark Matter Recipe Calls for One Part Superfluid first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Aug 25, 2017
A Puzzle of Clever Connections Nears a Happy End
693
The three young friends who devised the “happy ending” problem would become some of the most influential mathematicians of the 20th century, but were never able to solve their own puzzle. Now it receives its first big breakthrough.

The post A Puzzle of Clever Connections Nears a Happy End first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Jul 20, 2017
The Thoughts of a Spiderweb
761
Spiders appear to offload cognitive tasks to their webs, making them one of a number of species with a mind that isn’t fully confined within the head.

The post The Thoughts of a Spiderweb first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Jul 13, 2017
How to Quantify (and Fight) Gerrymandering
1014
Powerful new quantitative tools are now available to combat partisan bias in the drawing of voting districts.

The post How to Quantify (and Fight) Gerrymandering first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Jun 29, 2017
A Long-Sought Proof, Found and Almost Lost
876
When a German retiree proved a famous long-standing mathematical conjecture, the response was underwhelming.

The post A Long-Sought Proof, Found and Almost Lost first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Jun 01, 2017
A New Blast May Have Forged Cosmic Gold
727
For decades, researchers believed that violent supernovas forged gold and other heavy elements. But many now argue for a different cosmic quarry.

The post A New Blast May Have Forged Cosmic Gold first appeared on Quanta Magazine

May 18, 2017
Why Did Life Move to Land? For the View
584
The ancient creatures who first crawled onto land may have been lured by the informational benefit that comes from seeing through air.

The post Why Did Life Move to Land? For the View first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Apr 06, 2017
New Number Systems Seek Their Lost Primes
443
For centuries, mathematicians tried to solve problems by adding new values to the usual numbers. Now they’re investigating the unintended consequences of that tinkering.

The post New Number Systems Seek Their Lost Primes first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Mar 30, 2017
Researchers Tap a Sleep Switch in the Brain
487
Powerful new experiments have uncovered some of the molecular underpinnings of sleep.

The post Researchers Tap a Sleep Switch in the Brain first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Mar 16, 2017
Experiment Reaffirms Quantum Weirdness
582
Physicists are closing the door on an intriguing loophole around the quantum phenomenon Einstein called “spooky action at a distance.”

The post Experiment Reaffirms Quantum Weirdness first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Mar 09, 2017
To Live Your Best Life, Do Mathematics
339
The ancient Greeks argued that the best life was filled with beauty, truth, justice, play and love. The mathematician Francis Su knows just where to find them.

The post To Live Your Best Life, Do Mathematics first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Mar 02, 2017
Dividing Droplets Could Explain Life’s Origin
697
Researchers have discovered that simple “chemically active” droplets grow to the size of cells and spontaneously divide, suggesting they might have evolved into the first living cells.

The post Dividing Droplets Could Explain Life’s Origin first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Feb 23, 2017
Infant Brains Reveal How the Mind Gets Built
678
Is the brain a blank slate, or is it wired from birth to understand the world?

The post Infant Brains Reveal How the Mind Gets Built first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Feb 16, 2017
3-D Fractals Offer Clues to Complex Systems
747
By folding fractals into 3-D objects, a mathematical duo hopes to gain new insight into simple equations.

The post 3-D Fractals Offer Clues to Complex Systems first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Feb 09, 2017
Grand Unification Dream Kept at Bay
764
Physicists have failed to find disintegrating protons, throwing into limbo the beloved theory that the forces of nature were unified at the beginning of time.

The post Grand Unification Dream Kept at Bay first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Feb 02, 2017
The Art of Teaching Math and Science
1418
The impasse in math and science instruction runs deeper than test scores or the latest educational theory. What can we learn from the best teachers on the front lines?

The post The Art of Teaching Math and Science first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Jan 26, 2017
The Case Against Dark Matter
1063
A proposed theory of gravity does away with dark matter, even as new astrophysical findings challenge the need for galaxies full of the invisible mystery particles.

The post The Case Against Dark Matter first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Dec 08, 2016
What Sonic Black Holes Say About Real Ones
750
Can a fluid analogue of a black hole point physicists toward the theory of quantum gravity, or is it a red herring?

The post What Sonic Black Holes Say About Real Ones first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Nov 24, 2016
Giant Genetic Map Shows Life’s Hidden Links
552
In a monumental set of experiments, spread out over nearly two decades, biologists removed genes two at a time to uncover the secret workings of the cell.

The post Giant Genetic Map Shows Life’s Hidden Links first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Nov 17, 2016
How to Cut Cake Fairly and Finally Eat It Too
580
Computer scientists have come up with a bounded algorithm that can fairly divide a cake among any number of people.

The post How to Cut Cake Fairly and Finally Eat It Too first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Nov 10, 2016
Strange Dark Galaxy Puzzles Astrophysicists
982
The surprising discovery of a massive, Milky Way–size galaxy that is made of 99.99 percent dark matter has astronomers dreaming up new ideas about how galaxies form.

The post Strange Dark Galaxy Puzzles Astrophysicists first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Oct 27, 2016
Hacker-Proof Code Confirmed
950
Computer scientists can prove certain programs to be error-free with the same certainty that mathematicians prove theorems.

The post Hacker-Proof Code Confirmed first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Oct 20, 2016
Colliding Black Holes Tell New Story of Stars
805
Just months after their discovery, gravitational waves coming from the mergers of black holes are shaking up astrophysics.

The post Colliding Black Holes Tell New Story of Stars first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Oct 13, 2016
The Neuroscience Behind Bad Decisions
814
Irrationality may be a consequence of the brain’s ravenous energy needs.

The post The Neuroscience Behind Bad Decisions first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Sep 22, 2016
What No New Particles Means for Physics
784
Physicists are confronting their “nightmare scenario.” What does the absence of new particles suggest about how nature works?

The post What No New Particles Means for Physics first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Sep 15, 2016
A Debate Over the Physics of Time
1259
According to our best theories of physics, the universe is a fixed block where time only appears to pass.

The post A Debate Over the Physics of Time first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Sep 08, 2016
Biologists Search for New Model Organisms
947
The bulk of biological research is centered on a handful of species. Are we missing a huge chunk of interesting biology?

The post Biologists Search for New Model Organisms first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Aug 18, 2016
Neutrinos Hint of Matter-Antimatter Rift
693
A hint that neutrinos behave differently than antineutrinos suggests an answer to one the biggest questions in physics.

The post Neutrinos Hint of Matter-Antimatter Rift first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Aug 11, 2016
A Bird’s-Eye View of Nature’s Hidden Order
848
Scientists are exploring a mysterious pattern, found in birds’ eyes, boxes of marbles and other surprising places, that is neither regular nor random.

The post A Bird’s-Eye View of Nature’s Hidden Order first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Aug 05, 2016
How Feynman Diagrams Almost Saved Space
772
Richard Feynman's famous diagrams weren’t just a way to do calculations. They represented a deep shift in thinking about how the universe is put together.

The post How Feynman Diagrams Almost Saved Space first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Jul 28, 2016
The Oracle of Arithmetic
817
At 28, Peter Scholze is uncovering deep connections between number theory and geometry.

The post The Oracle of Arithmetic first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Jul 21, 2016
New Life Found That Lives Off Electricity
617
Scientists have figured out how microbes can suck energy from rocks. Such lifeforms might be more widespread than anyone anticipated.

The post New Life Found That Lives Off Electricity first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Jul 07, 2016
Simple Set Game Proof Stuns Mathematicians
958
A new series of papers has settled a long-standing question related to the popular game in which players seek patterned sets of three cards.

The post Simple Set Game Proof Stuns Mathematicians first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Jun 17, 2016
How Neanderthal DNA Helps Humanity
614
Neanderthals and Denisovans may have endowed modern humans with genetic variants that helped them thrive in new environments.

The post How Neanderthal DNA Helps Humanity first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Jun 09, 2016
New Support for Alternative Quantum View
781
An experiment claims to have invalidated a decades-old criticism against pilot-wave theory, an alternative formulation of quantum mechanics that eliminates the most baffling features of the subatomic universe.

The post New Support for Alternative Quantum View first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Jun 02, 2016
New Evidence for the Necessity of Loneliness
785
A specific set of neurons deep in the brain may motivate us to seek company, holding social species together.

The post New Evidence for the Necessity of Loneliness first appeared on Quanta Magazine

May 26, 2016
Tiny Tests Seek the Universe’s Big Mysteries
649
The search for exotic new physical phenomena is being led by huge experiments like the Large Hadron Collider. But at the other end of the spectrum lie tabletop experiments — small-scale probes of hidden dimensions, dark matter and dark energy.

The post Tiny Tests Seek the Universe’s Big Mysteries first appeared on Quanta Magazine

May 12, 2016
A Secret Flexibility Found in Life’s Blueprints
698
A new study reveals that individual genes can create many different versions of the molecular machinery that powers the cell.

The post A Secret Flexibility Found in Life’s Blueprints first appeared on Quanta Magazine

May 05, 2016
Physicists Hunt for the Big Bang’s Triangles
1541
The story of the universe’s birth — and evidence for string theory — could be found in triangles and myriad other shapes in the sky.

The post Physicists Hunt for the Big Bang’s Triangles first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Apr 28, 2016
Debate Intensifies Over Dark Disk Theory
837
In the new, free-for-all era of dark matter research, the controversial idea that dark matter is concentrated in thin disks is being rescued from scientific oblivion.

The post Debate Intensifies Over Dark Disk Theory first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Apr 21, 2016
Mapping the Brain to Build Better Machines
1519
A project to decipher the brain’s learning rules could revolutionize machine learning.

The post Mapping the Brain to Build Better Machines first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Apr 14, 2016
Sphere Packing Solved in Higher Dimensions
1348
The Ukrainian mathematician Maryna Viazovska has solved the centuries-old sphere-packing problem in dimensions eight and 24.

The post Sphere Packing Solved in Higher Dimensions first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Apr 07, 2016
The Beasts That Keep the Beat
1314
New insights from neuroscience — aided by a small zoo’s worth of dancing animals — are revealing the biological origins of rhythm.

The post The Beasts That Keep the Beat first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Mar 31, 2016
A Life in Games
2013
The mathematician John Horton Conway’s myriad accomplishments — including the Game of Life, sprouts and the surreal numbers — are the product of a mind at play.

The post A Life in Games first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Mar 24, 2016
Mathematicians Discover Prime Conspiracy
1563
A previously unnoticed property of prime numbers seems to violate a long-standing assumption about how they behave.

The post Mathematicians Discover Prime Conspiracy first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Mar 24, 2016
After Black Holes Collide, a Puzzling Flash
1349
A satellite spotted a burst of light just as gravitational waves rolled in from the collision of two black holes. Was the flash a cosmic coincidence, or do astrophysicists need to rethink what black holes can do?

The post After Black Holes Collide, a Puzzling Flash first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Mar 10, 2016
The Quantum Secret to Superconductivity
1462
In a virtuoso experiment, physicists have revealed details of a “quantum critical point” that underlies high-temperature superconductivity.

The post The Quantum Secret to Superconductivity first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Mar 03, 2016
How to Build Life in a Pre-Darwinian World
1715
Perhaps chemistry played a more instrumental role in the origin of life than scientists thought.

The post How to Build Life in a Pre-Darwinian World first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Feb 25, 2016
Gravitational Waves Discovered at Long Last
2087
Ripples in space-time have been detected a century after Einstein predicted them, launching a new era in astronomy.

The post Gravitational Waves Discovered at Long Last first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Feb 18, 2016
Scientists Debate Signatures of Alien Life
1525
Searching for signs of life on faraway planets, astrobiologists must decide which telltale biosignature gases to target.

The post Scientists Debate Signatures of Alien Life first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Feb 11, 2016
New Clues to How the Brain Maps Time
1562
The same brain cells that track location in space appear to also count beats in time. The research suggests that our thoughts may take place on a mental space-time canvas.

The post New Clues to How the Brain Maps Time first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Feb 04, 2016
Quantum Weirdness Now a Matter of Time
2027
Bizarre quantum bonds connect distinct moments in time, suggesting that quantum links — not space-time — constitute the fundamental structure of the universe.

The post Quantum Weirdness Now a Matter of Time first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Jan 28, 2016
String Theory Meets Loop Quantum Gravity
2125
Two leading candidates for a “theory of everything,” long thought to be incompatible, may be two sides of the same coin.

The post String Theory Meets Loop Quantum Gravity first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Jan 21, 2016
Landmark Algorithm Breaks 30-Year Impasse
1813
Computer scientists are abuzz over a fast new algorithm for solving one of the central problems in the field.

The post Landmark Algorithm Breaks 30-Year Impasse first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Jan 14, 2016
Math Quartet Joins Forces on Unified Theory
1832
A new breakthrough that bridges number theory and geometry is just the latest triumph for a close-knit group of mathematicians.

The post Math Quartet Joins Forces on Unified Theory first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Dec 17, 2015
The Incredible Shrinking Sex Chromosome
1808
Nature offers species a panoply of ways to determine an organism’s sex. That flexibility suggests we need not be concerned about losing sex chromosomes, but it raises the question of why such a fundamental property is so variable.

The post The Incredible Shrinking Sex Chromosome first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Dec 10, 2015
Nature’s Critical Warning System
2013
Scientists are homing in on a warning signal that arises in complex systems like ecological food webs, the brain and the Earth’s climate. Could it help prevent future catastrophes?

The post Nature’s Critical Warning System first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Nov 26, 2015
How Humans Evolved Supersize Brains
2214
Scientists have begun to identify the symphony of biological triggers that powered the extraordinary expansion of the human brain.

The post How Humans Evolved Supersize Brains first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Nov 19, 2015
Mongrel Microbe Tests Story of Complex Life
1827
A newly discovered class of microbe could help to resolve one of the biggest and most controversial mysteries in evolution — how simple microbes transformed into the complex cells that produced animals, plants and fungi.

The post Mongrel Microbe Tests Story of Complex Life first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Nov 12, 2015
Theorists Draw Closer to Perfect Coloring
1177
A theorem for coloring a large class of “perfect” mathematical networks could ease the way for a long-sought general coloring proof.

The post Theorists Draw Closer to Perfect Coloring first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Nov 05, 2015
A Twisted Path to Equation-Free Prediction
1892
Complex natural systems defy analysis using a standard mathematical toolkit, so one ecologist is throwing out the equations.

The post A Twisted Path to Equation-Free Prediction first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Oct 22, 2015
The Mutant Genes Behind the Black Death
1599
Only a few genetic changes were enough to change an ordinary stomach bug into the bacteria responsible for the plague.

The post The Mutant Genes Behind the Black Death first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Oct 15, 2015
A New Map Traces the Limits of Computation
1636
A major advance in computational complexity reveals deep connections between the classes of problems that computers can — and can’t — possibly do.

The post A New Map Traces the Limits of Computation first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Oct 08, 2015
Visions of Future Physics
1997
Nima Arkani-Hamed is championing a campaign to build the world’s largest particle collider, even as he pursues a new vision of the laws of nature.

The post Visions of Future Physics first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Oct 01, 2015
How the Body’s Trillions of Clocks Keep Time
1834
Cellular clocks are almost everywhere. Clues to how they work are coming from the places they’re not.

The post How the Body’s Trillions of Clocks Keep Time first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Sep 25, 2015
Einstein’s Parable of Quantum Insanity
1424
Einstein refused to believe in the inherent unpredictability of the world. Is the subatomic world insane, or just subtle?

The post Einstein’s Parable of Quantum Insanity first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Sep 16, 2015
A New Design for Cryptography’s Black Box
1486
A recent cryptographic breakthrough has proven difficult to put into practice. But new advances show how near-perfect computer security might be surprisingly close at hand.

The post A New Design for Cryptography’s Black Box first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Sep 10, 2015
How Mutant Viral Swarms Spread Disease
1694
A new understanding of viral swarms is helping researchers predict how viruses will evolve and where disease is likely to spread.

The post How Mutant Viral Swarms Spread Disease first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Sep 03, 2015
A Surprise Source of Life’s Code
2052
Emerging data suggests the seemingly impossible — that mysterious new genes arise from “junk” DNA.

The post A Surprise Source of Life’s Code first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Aug 27, 2015
How Life and Luck Changed Earth’s Minerals
2052
Did the minerals on our planet arise in a predictable fashion, or did they result from chance events? The answers could eventually help scientists identify planets likely to harbor life.

The post How Life and Luck Changed Earth’s Minerals first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Aug 20, 2015
At Tiny Scales, a Giant Burst on Tree of Life
1179
A new technique for finding and characterizing microbes has boosted the number of known bacteria by almost 50 percent, revealing a hidden world all around us.

The post At Tiny Scales, a Giant Burst on Tree of Life first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Aug 06, 2015
New Letters Added to the Genetic Alphabet
1436
Scientists hope that new genetic letters, created in the lab, will endow DNA with new powers.

The post New Letters Added to the Genetic Alphabet first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Jul 30, 2015
The New Laws of Explosive Networks
1304
Researchers are uncovering the hidden laws that reveal how the Internet grows, how viruses spread, and how financial bubbles burst.

The post The New Laws of Explosive Networks first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Jul 30, 2015