Illustration of cartoon characters working alongside a machine.

Jon Fox for Quanta Magazine

artificial intelligence

Machines Beat Humans on a Reading Test. But Do They Understand?

A tool known as BERT can now beat humans on advanced reading-comprehension tests. But it’s also revealed how far AI has to go.

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Illustration of two strips of movie film coiled around each other in a double helix.

Inherited Learning? It Happens, but How Is Uncertain

Studies suggest that epigenetics allows some learned adaptive responses to be passed down to new generations. The question is how.

foundations of mathematics

With Category Theory, Mathematics Escapes From Equality

Two monumental works have led many mathematicians to avoid the equal sign. The process has not always gone smoothly.

Illustration of DNA that combines elements of mealybug and bacterial imagery.

Cell-Bacteria Mergers Offer Clues to How Organelles Evolved

Cells in symbiotic partnership, sometimes nested one within the other and functioning like organelles, can borrow from their host’s genes to complete their own metabolic pathways.

Quantized Columns

Why I Called It ‘Quantum Supremacy’

Researchers finally seem to have a quantum computer that can outperform a classical computer. But what does that really mean?

Scanning electron micrograph of a cluster of coccolithophores.

How Jurassic Plankton Stole Control of the Ocean’s Chemistry

Only 170 million years ago, new plankton evolved. Their demand for carbon and calcium permanently transformed the seas as homes for life.

Colored spheres arranged in pairs.
prime numbers

Big Question About Primes Proved in Small Number Systems

The twin primes conjecture is one of the most important and difficult questions in mathematics. Two mathematicians have solved a parallel version of the problem for small number systems.

Stephanie Wehner in a red suit standing in a glass-paneled corridor at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. Her reflection appears in the glass to the right and left.

To Invent a Quantum Internet

Fifty years after the current internet was born, the physicist and computer scientist Stephanie Wehner is planning and designing the next internet — a quantum one.

Latest Puzzle

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

Solution: ‘Perfect Randomness’

Is nature inherently random or is perfect randomness just an illusion based on our ignorance?

Latest Podcast


A Universal Law for the ‘Blood of the Earth’

Simple physical principles can be used to describe how rivers grow everywhere from Florida to Mars.

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.

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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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