Art for "Evolutionary Math and Just-So Stories"

Dan Page for Quanta Magazine

insights puzzle

Evolutionary Math and Just-So Stories

Evolutionary stories like the grandmother hypothesis are easy to construct from mathematical models, but how well do they reflect reality?

algorithms

Universal Method to Sort Complex Information Found

The nearest neighbor problem asks where a new point fits in to an existing data set. A few researchers set out to prove that there was no universal way to solve it. Instead, they found such a way.

Art for "Dark Energy May Be Incompatible With String Theory"
theoretical physics

Dark Energy May Be Incompatible With String Theory

A controversial new paper argues that universes with dark energy profiles like ours do not exist in the “landscape” of universes allowed by string theory.

Art for "Star-Swallowing Black Holes Burp Out Their Secrets"
astrophysics

Star-Swallowing Black Holes Reveal Secrets in Exotic Light Shows

Black holes occasionally reveal themselves when passing stars get ripped apart by their gravity. These tidal disruption events have created a new way for astronomers to map the hidden cosmos.

Photo illustration of Akshay Venkatesh
2018 Fields Medal and Nevanlinna Prize Winners

A Number Theorist Who Bridges Math and Time

Akshay Venkatesh, a former prodigy who struggled with the genius stereotype, has won a Fields Medal for his “profound contributions to an exceptionally broad range of subjects in mathematics.”

Photo illustration of Alessio Figalli
Photo illustration of Constantinos Daskalakis
2018 Fields Medal and Nevanlinna Prize Winners

A Poet of Computation Who Uncovers Distant Truths

The theoretical computer scientist Constantinos Daskalakis has won the Rolf Nevanlinna Prize for explicating core questions in game theory and machine learning.

Photo of Dr. Peter Scholze
2018 Fields Medal and Nevanlinna Prize Winners

A Master of Numbers and Shapes Who Is Rewriting Arithmetic

The 30-year-old math sensation Peter Scholze is now one of the youngest Fields medalists for “the revolution that he launched in arithmetic geometry.”

Photo illustration of Caucher Birkar
2018 Fields Medal and Nevanlinna Prize Winners

An Innovator Who Brings Order to an Infinitude of Equations

The mathematician Caucher Birkar was born on a subsistence farm and raised in the middle of the brutal war between Iran and Iraq. After fleeing to England, he has gone on to impose order on a wild landscape of mathematical equations.

Latest Podcast


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evolution

A Domesticated Dingo? No, but Some Are Getting Less Wild

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.

Latest Puzzle


Illustation for "The Slippery Math of Causation"
insights puzzle

Solution: ‘The Slippery Math of Causation’

The all-too-intuitive picture of a straight arrow going from cause to effect is far too simplistic to describe the real world.

Latest Interactive


Victoria Meadows in her garden with her cockatoo.
Thinking Places

Victoria Meadows’ Earthly Visions of Alien Life

A living, breathing garden in Seattle serves as the perfect backdrop to an astrobiologist’s search for life on faraway planets.

About Quanta Magazine

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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