Video simulation of gas around a black hole.

Courtesy of Yuan Li


Astronomers Find Black Holes Stirring Up the Biggest Galaxies

After a space telescope disintegrated, astrophysicists had little hope of understanding how supermassive black holes agitate giant galaxies. Then they invented a hack.

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Animated graphic showing different ways many numbers can arrive at 1 via the Collatz process
number theory

Mathematician Proves Huge Result on ‘Dangerous’ Problem

Mathematicians regard the Collatz conjecture as a quagmire and warn each other to stay away. But now Terence Tao has made more progress than anyone in decades.

Animated representation of locusts tracked by a computer move across a screen.

To Decode the Brain, Scientists Automate the Study of Behavior

Machine learning and deep neural networks can capture and analyze the “language” of animal behavior in ways that go beyond what’s humanly possible.


How Microbiomes Affect Fear

New studies help to explain how microbes in the gut can shape a host’s fear responses.

A brain full of “explosive” activity may lead to an earlier death than one with steadier “candles” of activity.

Longevity Linked to Proteins That Calm Overexcited Neurons

New research makes a molecular connection between the brain and aging — and shows that overactive neurons can shorten life span.

Illustration of pathogens, vaccines, and other necessary factors for eradicating a disease.
An illustration of a woman sitting in a field embroidering a flower pattern. Around her grow wildflowers that appear to be randomly distributed but whose colors reveal a hidden pattern.
number theory

Mathematicians Catch a Pattern by Figuring Out How to Avoid It

We finally know how big a set of numbers can get before it has to contain a pattern known as a “polynomial progression.”

Saturn’s rings colored by particle size.
planetary science

Are Saturn’s Rings Really as Young as the Dinosaurs?

A surprisingly youthful estimate of the age of the rings has stirred a backlash.


The Architect of Modern Algorithms

Barbara Liskov pioneered the modern approach to writing code. She warns that the challenges facing computer science today can’t be overcome with good design alone.

Latest Puzzle

insights puzzle

Does Natural Law Need Elegant Mathematics?

Many of us are drawn to beauty in mathematics. But is that the way nature really works?

Latest Podcast

artificial intelligence

Foundations Built for a General Theory of Neural Networks

Neural networks can be as unpredictable as they are powerful. Now mathematicians are beginning to reveal how a neural network’s form will influence its function.

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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