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Abstractions blog

LHC Collision Events - Visualization
Abstractions blog

The Math That’s Too Difficult for Physics

How do physicists reconstruct what really happened in a particle collision? Through calculations that are so challenging that, in some cases, they simply can’t be done. Yet.

Illustration by Lucy Reading-Ikkanda for Quanta Magazine
Abstractions blog

The Devil in the Polling Data

The same problem that caused the 2007 financial crisis also tripped up the polling data ahead of this year’s presidential election.

Neutron-scattering image of a “spin ice” material created in 2009 that contains particles analogous to magnetic monopoles.
Abstractions blog

Can Analogies Reveal the Laws of Physics?

So-called “analogue experiments” are becoming increasingly common in physics, but do they teach or mislead?

Abstractions blog

Why (Almost) Everyone Was Wrong

The results of this year’s presidential election made a mockery of analytical election forecast modelers.

A petri dish with an array of mutant yeast strains.
Abstractions blog

Why Some Genetic Miscues Are Helpful

A new look at the reasons why organisms missing pairs of genes sometimes do much better than normal.

Abstractions blog

The Cell’s Backup Genetic Instructions

The cell is equipped with multiple redundancies in case something goes wrong. Researchers have begun to map these systems.

Abstractions blog

Science Evolves. Will Science Education?

Science is a constantly changing, self-correcting process. Why do we teach it as a collection of old, settled facts?

Abstractions blog

All Is Not Fair in Cake-Cutting and Math

When divvying something up, there’s more than one way to define what’s fair.

Abstractions blog

Nobel Prize Awarded for Quantum Topology

Three physicists have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for rewriting our understanding of exotic quantum states on the surfaces of materials.