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Complex Animals Led to More Oxygen, Says Maverick Theory
For decades, researchers have commonly assumed that higher oxygen levels led to the sudden diversification of animal life 540 million years ago. But one iconoclast argues the opposite: that new animal behaviors raised oxygen levels and remade the environment.
Robert Langlands, Mathematical Visionary, Wins the Abel Prize
Generations of researchers have pursued his “Langlands program,” which seeks to create a grand unified theory of mathematics.
Why Stephen Hawking’s Black Hole Puzzle Keeps Puzzling
The renowned British physicist, who died at 76, left behind a riddle that could eventually lead his successors to the theory of quantum gravity.
How Einstein Lost His Bearings, and With Them, General Relativity
By 1913, Albert Einstein had nearly completed general relativity. But a simple mistake set him on a tortured, two-year reconsideration of his theory. Today, mathematicians still grapple with the issues he confronted.
Why the Tiny Weight of Empty Space Is Such a Huge Mystery
The amount of energy infusing empty space seems too small to explain without a multiverse. But physicists have at least one alternative left to explore.
New Giant Viruses Further Blur the Definition of Life
A newfound pair of giant viruses have massive genomes and the most complete resources for building proteins ever seen in the viral world. They have refreshed the debate about the origins of these cellular parasites.
The Simple Algorithm That Ants Use to Build Bridges
Even with no one in charge, army ants work collectively to build bridges out of their bodies. New research reveals the simple rules that lead to such complex group behavior.
Evolution Saves Species From ‘Kill the Winner’ Disasters
Modelers find evidence that a combination of competition, predation and evolution will push ecosystems toward species diversity anywhere in the universe.
With Strategic Zaps to the Brain, Scientists Boost Memory
Stimulating part of the cortex as needed during learning tasks improves later recall. The finding reveals more about the brain’s memory network and points toward possible therapies.