Looping video of illustrated clocks stretching in different directions.

Olena Shmahalo/Quanta Magazine

Abstractions blog

Reasons Revealed for the Brain’s Elastic Sense of Time

New research finds that the subjective experience of time is linked to learning, thwarted expectations and neural fatigue.

Black holes of various sizes
black holes

Physicists Argue That Black Holes From the Big Bang Could Be the Dark Matter

It was an old idea of Stephen Hawking’s: Unseen “primordial” black holes might be the hidden dark matter. A new series of studies has shown how the theory can work.

Quantized Academy

The Simple Math Problem We Still Can’t Solve

Despite recent progress on the notorious Collatz conjecture, we still don’t know whether a number can escape its infinite loop.

Photo of students sitting at desks competing in the International Mathematical Olympiad
Abstractions blog

At the Math Olympiad, Computers Prepare to Go for the Gold

Computer scientists are trying to build an AI system that can win a gold medal at the world’s premier math competition.

water molecules, droplets and a wave
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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Quanta Podcast


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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.

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.

The Joy of x Podcast


00:00/00:00

The mathematician Alex Kontorovich speaks with host Steven Strogatz about regaining his creative freedom in an intimidating collaboration and about the pleasures of spherical geometry.

Multimedia


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.

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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