Ann Nelson in hiking gear traversing some boulders at the top of a mountain with snowy peaks in the background.

Courtesy of David Kaplan

Quantized Columns

Ann Nelson Took On the Biggest Problems in Physics

The theoretical particle physicist Ann Nelson, who died on August 4 at age 61, was a font of brilliant ideas and a champion of ending discrimination in the field.

An illustration of eyeballs connected to many hands painting the Mona Lisa.
mathematical biology

A Mathematical Model Unlocks the Secrets of Vision

Mathematicians and neuroscientists have created the first anatomically accurate model that explains how vision is possible.

A dartboard with pi at its center.
number theory

New Proof Settles How to Approximate Numbers Like Pi

The ancient Greeks wondered when “irrational” numbers can be approximated by fractions. By proving the longstanding Duffin-Schaeffer conjecture, two mathematicians have provided a complete answer.

Art for "Color Me Polynomial"
Quantized Academy

Color Me Polynomial

Polynomials aren’t just exercises in abstraction. They’re good at illuminating structure in surprising places.

An illustration of the cosmologists Wendy Freedman and Adam Riess debating the expansion rate of the universe at a recent meeting at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics in Santa Barbara, California.
cosmology

Cosmologists Debate How Fast the Universe Is Expanding

New measurements could upend the standard theory of the cosmos that has reigned since the discovery of dark energy 21 years ago.

An illustration of a machine with two mechanical arms sorts cells by size into processing lines marked “Asymmetric Division” and “Symmetric Division.”
Carlo Rubbia giving a lecture with a colorful PowerPoint slide on the screen behind him.
Q&A

A Call for Courage as Physicists Confront Collider Dilemma

Carlo Rubbia, leader of the bold collider experiment that in 1983 discovered the W and Z bosons, thinks particle physicists should now smash muons together in an innovative “Higgs factory.”

VIDEO OPENER: TIME-LAPSE OF FLOWER OPENING.
botany

Unexpected ‘Germline’ Plant Cells May Shield New Generations

To avoid passing on new mutations to offspring, plants may minimize the number of divisions by the stem cells that make flowers and seeds.

universality

The Universal Law That Aims Time’s Arrow

A new look at a ubiquitous phenomenon has uncovered unexpected fractal behavior that could give us clues about the early universe and the arrow of time.

Latest Puzzle


An illustration of a sunset beach scene turned into a puzzle.
insights puzzle

The Puzzling Search for Perfect Randomness

Does objective, perfect randomness exist, or is randomness merely a product of our ignorance?

Latest Podcast


00:00/00:00
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.

Latest Multimedia


Art for "What Are Feynman Diagrams?"
In Theory

How Feynman Diagrams Revolutionized Physics

In the late 1940s, Richard Feynman invented a visual tool for simplifying particle calculations that forever changed theoretical physics.

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