Quanta Magazine is an editorially independent online publication launched by the Simons Foundation to enhance public understanding of science. Why Quanta? Albert Einstein called photons “quanta of light.” Our goal is to “illuminate science.”
Our reporters focus on developments in mathematics, theoretical physics, theoretical computer science and the basic life sciences. The best traditional news organizations provide excellent reporting on applied areas of science such as health, medicine, technology, engineering and the environment. We strive to complement and augment existing media coverage.
Our work often resembles journalistic alchemy — we mash together the complexities of science with the malleable art of storytelling in an attempt to forge a precious new alloy. It can be a mind-bending enterprise, but we relish the challenge.
At Quanta Magazine, scientific accuracy is every bit as important as telling a good story. As a nonprofit foundation-funded publication, all of Quanta’s resources go toward producing responsible, freely-accessible journalism that is meticulously researched, reported, edited, copy-edited and fact-checked. And having editorial independence ensures the impartiality of our science coverage — our articles do not reflect or represent the views of the Simons Foundation. All editorial decisions, including which research or researchers to cover, are made by Quanta’s staff reporting to the editor in chief; editorial content is not reviewed by anyone outside of the news team prior to publication; Quanta has no involvement in any of the Simons Foundation’s grant-giving or research efforts; and researchers who receive funding from the foundation do not receive preferential treatment. The decision to cover a particular researcher or research result is made solely on editorial grounds in service of our readers.
To reach an even wider audience, we have syndication partnerships with ScientificAmerican.com, Wired.com, TheAtlantic.com and other publications, which reprint our articles free of charge. Through international partnerships, our articles have been translated into German, Chinese and Japanese, and we plan to make them available in other languages. We want everyone to keep reading.
Thank you for your interest in Quanta Magazine. We invite you to explore our pages and look forward to hearing your thoughts.
Editor in Chief
Thomas Lin is the founding editor of Quanta Magazine. He joined the Simons Foundation in 2012 after more than seven years at The New York Times, where he managed the online science and national news sections, edited the Scientist at Work blog, created the Profiles in Science video series, produced the Science Times podcast, and wrote about science, tennis and technology. He has also been a home page editor for The Indianapolis Star, a reporter and photographer covering Queens, New York, a teacher and a mechanical engineer. He holds a College Scholar bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a master’s degree in teaching from Oregon State University, completed the Writers’ Institute program at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center and has taught at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. Follow on Twitter.
Before joining Quanta Magazine in 2014, Michael Moyer spent six years at Scientific American, where he was most recently in charge of physics and space coverage and led the magazine’s special editorial projects. His writing has been recognized with the American Institute of Physics Science Writing Award and included in the 2013 edition of the “The Best American Science and Nature Writing.” Prior to his tenure at Scientific American, he was articles editor at Popular Science magazine, and before that, he studied physics and the philosophical foundations of physics at Columbia University and the University of California, Berkeley. Follow on Twitter.
Kevin Hartnett is a senior writer at Quanta Magazine covering mathematics and computer science. His work has been collected in the “Best Writing on Mathematics” series in 2013 and 2016. From 2013-2016 he wrote “Brainiac,” a weekly column for the Boston Globe‘s Ideas section. Follow on Twitter.
Natalie Wolchover is a senior writer at Quanta Magazine covering the physical sciences. Previously, she wrote for Popular Science, LiveScience and other publications. She has a bachelor’s in physics from Tufts University, studied graduate-level physics at the University of California, Berkeley, and co-authored several academic papers in nonlinear optics. Her writing was featured in The Best Writing on Mathematics 2015. She is the winner of the 2016 Excellence in Statistical Reporting Award and the 2016 Evert Clark/Seth Payne Award for young science journalists. Follow on Twitter.
Before joining Quanta Magazine in 2017, Lucy Reading-Ikkanda spent 13 years creating illustrations and information graphics for various clients, including seven years as an art director, designer and illustrator for Scientific American and two years as the art director for The Scientist. Her work has also been featured in Science, Nature, Wired, The Atlantic, The Guardian, the Los Angeles Times, NPR, Nautilus, Popular Mechanics and other publications. She grew up in South Wales, U.K., and studied at the Falmouth School of Art, the University of Kent and the University of California, Santa Cruz. Follow on Twitter.
Prior to joining Quanta Magazine in 2014, Olena Shmahalo was an art director at the interactive ad agency KBS+P. In 2011, she earned a BFA in visual and critical studies from the School of Visual Arts. In 2013, she enrolled as a part-time physics student at the City College of New York. Follow on Instagram.
Jeanette Kazmierczak joined Quanta Magazine in September 2015 after graduating with a master’s of specialized journalism, focusing in science, from the University of Southern California. She was most recently an editorial assistant for the Global Climate Change website at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and has interned with NOVA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For two years she was the science beat reporter for the University of Georgia’s student newspaper.
Laura Chang is an editor at large at The New York Times. She started at The Times in 1990 as a copy editor on the national desk and eventually became special projects editor, handling projects on welfare reform, the erosion of privacy, the spread of E. coli contamination, and the Unabomber. She joined the newspaper’s science department in 1998 and was science editor from 2004 to 2011. In 2011 she was assigned to conceive and produce a special print and digital issue on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. She is the editor of “Scientists at Work: Profiles of Today’s Groundbreaking Scientists from Science Times.” Born in Seattle, she studied journalism and psychology at the University of Washington and worked at The Seattle Times before moving to New York.
Raissa D’Souza is a professor of computer science and mechanical engineering at the University of California, Davis, and an external professor at the Santa Fe Institute. She received a Ph.D. in statistical physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1999. She was a postdoctoral fellow, first at Bell Laboratories in fundamental mathematics and theoretical physics, and then in the theory group at Microsoft Research. Her interdisciplinary work on network theory spans the fields of statistical physics, theoretical computer science and applied math, and she has published in journals such as Science, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and Physical Review Letters. She is a fellow of the American Physical Society, serves on the editorial board of numerous international mathematics and physics journals, has organized key scientific meetings like NetSci 2014, was a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Complex Systems, and is currently the president of the Network Science Society.
David J. Gross is the Chancellor’s Chair professor of theoretical physics and the former director of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He received his Ph.D. in 1966 from the University of California, Berkeley. Before joining the Kavli Institute, he was the Thomas Jones professor of mathematical physics at Princeton University. Gross was awarded the 2004 Nobel Prize in physics, along with H. David Politzer and Frank Wilczek, “for the discovery of asymptotic freedom in the theory of the strong interaction.” His other awards include the Sakurai Prize, a MacArthur fellowship, the Dirac Medal, the Oskar Klein Medal, the Harvey Prize, the High Energy and Particle Physics Prize of the European Physical Society, and the Grande Médaille of the French Academy of Sciences. He holds honorary degrees from institutions in the United States, Great Britain, France, Israel, Argentina, Brazil, Belgium and China. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the Indian Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. In 2016 he began a three-year term in the presidential line of the American Physical Society.
Alex Kontorovich is a professor of mathematics at Rutgers University. His research uses tools at the intersection of geometry, harmonic analysis, dynamics and representation theory to tackle simple questions about whole numbers. Born in Russia and raised in New Jersey, Kontorovich received an A.B. from Princeton University and a Ph.D. from Columbia, after which he taught at Brown, Stony Brook and Yale, with visiting positions at Harvard and the Institute for Advanced Study. Kontorovich is the recipient of a Sloan Research Fellowship, a National Science Foundation CAREER award, and the Levi L. Conant Prize of the American Mathematical Society. He is an elected fellow of the American Mathematical Society and serves on the advisory board of the National Museum of Mathematics.
Hopi E. Hoekstra is the Alexander Agassiz professor of zoology and the curator of mammals in the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University. Her research focuses on uncovering the genetic basis of morphological and behavioral traits that affect fitness of individuals in the wild. She received a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Ph.D. from the University of Washington. In 2013, Hoekstra was named a Howard Hughes Investigator, gave the commencement speech at Berkeley’s integrative biology department and was profiled in The New York Times. She has received Young Investigator awards from the American Society of Naturalists and the Beckman Foundation, and most recently, the National Academy of Sciences. At Harvard, she teaches an introductory course, “Genetics, Genomics and Evolution,” to approximately 500 freshmen each year, and has been awarded the Fannie Cox Prize and a Harvard College Professorship for teaching excellence.
Howard Schneider is the founding dean of the School of Journalism at Stony Brook University. For more than 35 years, Schneider was a reporter and editor at Newsday. For nearly 18 of those years, he was managing editor and then the paper’s top editor. Under his tenure, the paper won eight Pulitzer Prizes in categories including investigative reporting, deadline reporting, arts criticism, specialized beat reporting and foreign affairs reporting. At Stony Brook, Schneider helped develop the nation’s first course in news literacy, which teaches undergraduates across all disciplines to become discerning news consumers. He also collaborated with the actor Alan Alda in launching the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, which is housed in the journalism school. The center, the first of its kind in the country, trains current and future scientists to communicate more effectively with the general public.
Steven Strogatz is the Jacob Gould Schurman professor of applied mathematics at Cornell University. He studied at Princeton, Cambridge and Harvard and taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before moving to Cornell in 1994. A renowned teacher and one of the world’s most highly cited mathematicians, he blogs about math for The New York Times and has been a frequent guest on “RadioLab.” His honors include a Presidential Young Investigator Award; the E. M. Baker Award, MIT’s highest teaching prize; and a lifetime achievement award for the communication of mathematics to the general public, awarded by the four major American mathematical societies. In 2012 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is the author of “Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos,” “Sync” and “The Calculus of Friendship.” His latest book is “The Joy of x.”
Leslie B. Vosshall is the Robin Chemers Neustein professor and head of the Laboratory of Neurogenetics and Behavior at The Rockefeller University. The long-term goal of her laboratory is to understand how behaviors emerge from the integration of sensory input with internal physiological states. Vosshall received an A.B. in biochemistry from Columbia University and a Ph.D. from The Rockefeller University. She conducted postdoctoral research with Richard Axel at Columbia before joining the Rockefeller faculty in 2000. She was named an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in 2008 and has received awards from the John Merck, Beckman and McKnight foundations. She was awarded the 2008 Lawrence C. Katz Prize from Duke University, the 2010 DART/NYU Biotechnology Award, and the 2011 Gill Young Investigator Award.
Spektrum der Wissenschaft (German)