Thi My Lien Nguyen for Quanta Magazine

topology

Mathematics as a Team Sport

When 50 mathematicians spend a week in the woods, there’s no telling what will happen. And that’s the point.

Paleontologist Pincelli Hull
Q&A

A Rapid End Strikes the Dinosaur Extinction Debate

The paleontologist Pincelli Hull has nailed down the timing and speed of the extinction that killed off the dinosaurs — details that carry ominous warnings for today.

A mother armadillo, lying on her side, nurses four baby armadillos.
developmental biology

Nature Versus Nurture? Add ‘Noise’ to the Debate.

We give our genes and our environment all the credit for making us who we are. But random noise during development might be just as important.

A man standing in the Arctic tundra holds up a large photo of a swamp.
geology

Sudden Ancient Global Warming Event Traced to Magma Flood

A study has cemented the link between an intense global warming episode 56 million years ago and volcanism in the North Atlantic, with implications for modern climate change.

Multimedia

What Is the Geometry of the Universe?

In our mind’s eye, the universe seems to go on forever. But using geometry we can explore a variety of three-dimensional shapes that offer alternatives to “ordinary” infinite space.

Photo of Ronald Rivest sitting in his office
Q&A

Cryptography Pioneer Seeks Secure Elections the Low-Tech Way

Ronald Rivest helped come up with the RSA algorithm, which safeguards online commerce. Now he’s hoping to make democratic elections more trustworthy.

A close-up of fossilized amber.
materials science

Ideal Glass Would Explain Why Glass Exists at All

Glass is anything that’s rigid like a crystal, yet made of disordered molecules like a liquid. To understand why it exists, researchers are attempting to create the perfect, still-hypothetical “ideal glass.”

Quantized Academy

How Rational Math Catches Slippery Irrational Numbers

Finding the best way to approximate the ever-elusive irrational numbers pits the infinitely large against the infinitely small.

The Joy of x Podcast


00:00/00:00

The astrophysicist Brian Keating talks to host Steven Strogatz about chasing the universe’s greatest mysteries — and what it’s like to have a major discovery slip through his fingers.

insights puzzle

Solution: ‘Is It Turtles All the Way Down?’

While the age-old chicken-and-egg paradox is easily answered, the question of infinite regress in physics is far from resolved.

Quanta Podcast


00:00/00:00
chaos theory

The Hidden Heroines of Chaos

Two women programmers played a pivotal role in the birth of chaos theory. Their previously untold story illustrates the changing status of computation in science.

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Illuminating basic science and math research through public service journalism.

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