The space telescope is one of the most ambitious scientific projects ever undertaken. Marcia Rieke and Nikole Lewis, two of the scientists leading JWST investigations, talk to Steven Strogatz about how it may transform our understanding of the universe.
Quanta Magazine | Science and Math News
James O’Brien for Quanta Magazine
How Many Microbes Does It Take to Make You Sick?
Exposure to a virus isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition. The concept of “infectious dose” suggests ways to keep ourselves safer from harm.
To Defend the Genome, These Cells Destroy Their Own DNA
Under a microscope, cells in a worm embryo deliberately eliminated one-third of their genome — an uncompromising tactic that may combat harmful genetic parasites.
Behold Modular Forms, the ‘Fifth Fundamental Operation’ of Math
Modular forms are one of the most beautiful and mysterious objects in mathematics. What are they?
The Experimental Cosmologist Hunting for the First Sunrise
To catch even a whiff of the universe’s earliest epochs — an age of darkness, and one of new light — Cynthia Chiang builds her own equipment. Then she deploys it at the ends of the Earth.
What Makes Life Tick? Mitochondria May Keep Time for Cells
Every species develops at its own unique tempo, leaving scientists to wonder what governs their timing. A suite of new findings suggests that cells use basic metabolic processes as clocks.
Machine Learning Aids Classical Modeling of Quantum Systems
By using “classical shadows,” ordinary computers can beat quantum computers at the tricky task of understanding quantum behaviors.
‘Species Repulsion’ Enables High Biodiversity in Tropical Trees
Because tree seedlings don’t grow as well when close to their parents, more tree species can be packed into tropical forests.
Today’s language models are more sophisticated than ever, but they still struggle with the concept of negation. That’s unlikely to change anytime soon.
The Joy of Why
Explore a universe of numbers and arithmetic in our new interactive math game, Hyperjumps!
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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.