Art for "Machine Learning Confronts the Elephant in the Room"

Eric Nyquist for Quanta Magazine

artificial intelligence

Machine Learning Confronts the Elephant in the Room

A visual prank exposes an Achilles’ heel of computer vision systems: Unlike humans, they can’t do a double take.

Art for "Titans of Mathematics Clash Over Epic Proof of ABC Conjecture"
number theory

Titans of Mathematics Clash Over Epic Proof of ABC Conjecture

Two mathematicians have found what they say is a hole at the heart of a proof that has convulsed the mathematics community for nearly six years.

Art for "New AI Strategy Mimics How Brains Learn to Smell"
artificial intelligence

New AI Strategy Mimics How Brains Learn to Smell

Machine learning techniques are commonly based on how the visual system processes information. To beat their limitations, scientists are drawing inspiration from the sense of smell.

Q&A

On Waste Plastics at Sea, She Finds Unique Microbial Multitudes

Maria-Luiza Pedrotti is illuminating the unseen worlds of plastic-eating bacteria that teem in massive ocean garbage patches.

Photo of Trichoplax adhaerens
genomics

World’s Simplest Animal Reveals Hidden Diversity

The first animal genus defined purely by genetic characters represents a new era for the sorting and naming of animals.

Art for "A Short History of the Missing Universe"
astrophysics

The Last of the Universe’s Ordinary Matter Has Been Found

For decades, astronomers weren’t able to find all of the atomic matter in the universe. A series of recent papers has revealed where it’s been hiding.

Illustration of a complex shape casting a shadow
geometry

Tinkertoy Models Produce New Geometric Insights

An upstart field that simplifies complex shapes is letting mathematicians understand how those shapes depend on the space in which you visualize them.

Thaumatophyllum bipinnatifidum leaf
botany

DNA Analysis Reveals a Genus of Plants Hiding in Plain Sight

Gene-sequence data is changing the way that botanists think about their classification schemes. A recent name-change for a common houseplant resulted from the discovery that it belonged in an overlooked genus.

Latest Multimedia


Art for "The Universal Pattern Popping Up in Math, Physics and Biology"
Multimedia

The Universal Pattern Popping Up in Math, Physics and Biology

Quanta’s In Theory video series returns with an exploration of a mysterious mathematical pattern found throughout nature.

Latest Podcast


00:00/00:00
cosmology

How the Universe Got Its Bounce Back

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.

Latest Puzzle


Art for "Evolutionary Math and Just-So Stories"
insights puzzle

Solution: ‘Evolutionary Math and Just-So Stories’

How much stock should we put in mathematical models of evolution that have not been validated by rigorous empirical data?

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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