water molecules, droplets and a wave

Samuel Velasco/Quanta Magazine

Abstractions blog

How Mathematical ‘Hocus-Pocus’ Saved Particle Physics

Renormalization has become perhaps the single most important advance in theoretical physics in 50 years.

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Aerial image of a complicated road network.
Abstractions blog

A New Algorithm for Graph Crossings, Hiding in Plain Sight

Two computer scientists found — in the unlikeliest of places — just the idea they needed to make a big leap in graph theory.

A false-colored scanning electron micrograph of a macrophage.
immunology

‘Trained Immunity’ Offers Hope in Fight Against Coronavirus

A novel form of immunological memory that was mostly ignored for a century extends the benefits of vaccines. It could be of help in ending the COVID-19 pandemic.

An abstract illustration showing broken tools, cubes, numbers and other abstract representations of impossible math
Quantized Columns

When Math Gets Impossibly Hard

Mathematicians have long grappled with the reality that some problems just don’t have solutions.

A comically long “missing persons” poster for an odd perfect number that shows all the restrictions it has to satisfy.
number theory

Mathematicians Open a New Front on an Ancient Number Problem

For millennia, mathematicians have wondered whether odd perfect numbers exist, establishing an extraordinary list of restrictions for the hypothetical objects in the process. Insight on this question could come from studying the next best things.

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The Joy of x Podcast


Moon Duchin
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Can geometry save democracy from gerrymandering? Mathematician Moon Duchin discusses the possibilities with host Steven Strogatz.

Close-up photo of a carpenter ant queen carrying eggs.
evolution

How Two Became One: Origins of a Mysterious Symbiosis Found

Carpenter ants need endosymbiotic bacteria to guide the early development of their embryos. New work has reconstructed how this deep partnership evolved.

Distorted galaxies
Abstractions blog

A New Cosmic Tension: The Universe Might Be Too Thin

Cosmologists have concluded that the universe doesn’t appear to clump as much as it should. Could both of cosmology’s big puzzles share a single fix?

Q&A

Conducting the Mathematical Orchestra From the Middle

Emily Riehl is rewriting the foundations of higher category theory while also working to make mathematics more inclusive.

Quanta Podcast


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ecology

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.

insights puzzle

COVID-19 Is Raging. How Safe Is Your Backyard Party?

Awash in coronavirus data, misinformation and tremendous uncertainty, we need to put our risk analysis skills to the ultimate test.

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Multimedia

Arrows of Time

The human mind has long grappled with the elusive nature of time: what it is, how to record it, how it regulates life, and whether it exists as a fundamental building block of the universe.

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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