The mathematician Federico Ardila takes a creative approach to the search for useful answers hiding among inconceivably huge numbers of possible ones.

Olena Shmahalo/Quanta Magazine

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Legend says the Chinese military once used a mathematical ruse to conceal its troop numbers. The technique relates to many deep areas of modern math research.

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Driven by her fascination with highly repetitive, hard-to-read parts of our DNA, Karen Miga led a coalition of researchers to finish sequencing the human genome after almost two decades.

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.

Computational neuroscientists taught an artificial neural network to imitate a biological neuron. The result offers a new way to think about the complexity of single brain cells.

Genomes hold immense quantities of noncoding DNA. Some of it is essential for life, some seems useless, and some has its own agenda.

How readers used their geometry skills to survive a dangerous puzzle.

The mathematician Federico Ardila takes a creative approach to the search for useful answers hiding among inconceivably huge numbers of possible ones.

*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.