Diagram showing show the hierarchy of different classes.

Lucy Reading-Ikkanda/Quanta Magazine

Abstractions blog

A Short Guide to Hard Problems

What’s easy for a computer to do, and what’s almost impossible? Those questions form the core of computational complexity. We present a map of the landscape.

Art for "Neutrinos Linked With Cosmic Source For the First Time"

Neutrinos Linked With Cosmic Source for the First Time

High-energy neutrinos have been traced back to a flaring supermassive black hole known as a blazar. The long-sought link opens the door to an entirely new way to study the universe.


The Hunt for Earth’s Deep Hidden Oceans

Water-bearing minerals reveal that Earth’s mantle could hold more water than all its oceans. Researchers now ask: Where did it all come from?

Art for "To Make Sense of the Present, Brains May Predict the Future"

To Make Sense of the Present, Brains May Predict the Future

A controversial theory suggests that perception, motor control, memory and other brain functions all depend on comparisons between ongoing actual experiences and the brain’s modeled expectations.

Photo of Physarum Polycephalum
cognitive science

Slime Molds Remember — but Do They Learn?

Evidence mounts that organisms without nervous systems can in some sense learn and solve problems, but researchers disagree about whether this is “primitive cognition.”

Photo of an axolotl
Photo of Jupiter for "Mathematicians Tame Turbulence in Flattened Fluids"
fluid dynamics

Mathematicians Tame Turbulence in Flattened Fluids

By squeezing fluids into flat sheets, researchers can get a handle on the strange ways that turbulence feeds energy into a system instead of eating it away.

Illustration for "Mathematics Shows How to Ensure Evolution"
mathematical biology

Mathematics Shows How to Ensure Evolution

New results emerging from graph theory prove that the way a population is organized can guarantee the eventual triumph of natural selection — or permanently thwart it.

Illustration for "Real-Life Schrödinger’s Cats Probe the Boundary of the Quantum World"
quantum mechanics

Real-Life Schrödinger’s Cats Probe the Boundary of the Quantum World

Recent experiments have put relatively large objects into quantum states, illuminating the processes by which the ordinary world emerges out of the quantum one.

Latest Podcast


Fossil Discoveries Challenge Ideas About Earth’s Start

A series of fossil finds suggests that life on Earth started earlier than anyone thought, calling into question a widely held theory of the solar system’s beginnings.

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.

More about us

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.

More about us