Quantum field theory may be the most successful scientific theory of all time, but there’s reason to think it’s missing something. Steven Strogatz speaks with theoretical physicist David Tong about this enigmatic theory.

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Señor Salme for Quanta Magazine

Self-supervised learning allows a neural network to figure out for itself what matters. The process might be what makes our own brains so successful.

Ever since Archimedes, mathematicians have been fascinated by equations that involve a difference between squares. Now two mathematicians have proven how often these equations have solutions, concluding a decades-old quest.

The key to understanding the origin and fate of the universe may be a more complete understanding of the vacuum.

The biochemist Nick Lane thinks life first evolved in hydrothermal vents where precursors of metabolism appeared before genetic information. His ideas could lead us to think differently about aging and cancer.

The solutions to Einstein’s equations that describe a spinning black hole won’t blow up, even when poked or prodded.

Partnerships between engineers and biologists have begun to reveal how birds evolved their superb maneuverability.

A hidden link has been found between two seemingly unrelated particle collision outcomes. It’s the latest example of a mysterious web of mathematical connections between disparate theories of physics.

Perineuronal nets, rigid structures that hold certain neurons in place, affect a surprising amount of brain activity, including some associated with chronic pain.

For centuries, mathematicians have tried to prove that Euler’s fluid equations can produce nonsensical answers. A new approach to machine learning has researchers betting that “blowup” is near.

Readers balanced logical reasoning and mathematical insights to find phony coins with a double-pan balance scale.

*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.