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Q&A

The Astronomer Who’d Rather Build Space Cameras

Jim Gunn shaped the theory of the evolution of the cosmos before building cameras and spectrographs for major observatories like the Hubble Space Telescope.

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ecology

Heat-Loving Microbes, Once Dormant, Thrive Over Decades-Old Fire

In harsh ecosystems around the world, microbiologists are finding evidence that “microbial seed banks” protect biodiversity from changing conditions.

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number theory

Mathematicians Discover the Perfect Way to Multiply

By chopping up large numbers into smaller ones, researchers have rewritten a fundamental mathematical speed limit.

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Quantized Columns

What the Sight of a Black Hole Means to a Black Hole Physicist

The astrophysicist Janna Levin reflects on the newly unveiled, first-ever photograph of a black hole.

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evolution

Researchers Rethink the Ancestry of Complex Cells

New studies revise ideas about the symbiosis that gave mitochondria to cells and about whether the last common ancestor of all eukaryotes was one cell or many.

The Prime Number Conspiracy - The Biggest Ideas in Math from Quanta – Available now!The Prime Number Conspiracy - The Biggest Ideas in Math from Quanta – Available now!The Prime Number Conspiracy - The Biggest Ideas in Math from Quanta – Available now!

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insights puzzle

The Bulldogs That Bulldogs Fight

Solve a linguistic whodunit about a college mascot by thinking like a self-referencing computer subroutine.

PHOTO: Sarah Hörst in her lab at JHU
Q&A

The Scientist Who Cooks Up the Skies of Faraway Worlds

Astronomers will soon take their first glance at the atmosphere of a distant exoplanet. Sarah Hörst is writing the guidebook for these exoplanetary explorers, one that will reveal what a distinctive atmosphere says about the world underneath.

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patterns

Scientists Discover Exotic New Patterns of Synchronization

In a world seemingly filled with chaos, physicists have discovered new forms of synchronization and are learning how to predict and control them.

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Quantized Columns

Usain Bolt’s Split Times and the Power of Calculus

Just how fast can the fastest human run? This adapted book excerpt from Infinite Powers reveals how calculus helps us investigate the nature of motion and change.

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geophysics

Why Earth’s Cracked Crust May Be Essential for Life

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.

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In Theory

The Trouble With Turbulence

Turbulence is everywhere, yet it is one of the most difficult concepts for physicists to understand.

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Illuminating basic science and math research through public service journalism.

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Quanta Magazine is committed to in-depth, accurate journalism that serves the public interest. Each article braids the complexities of science with the malleable art of storytelling and is meticulously reported, edited and fact-checked. Launched and funded by the Simons Foundation, Quanta is editorially independent — our articles do not reflect or represent the views of the foundation.

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