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A drawing of a mouse, with lines representing sensory data rotating 90 degrees to become lines of memory data.

The Brain ‘Rotates’ Memories to Save Them From New Sensations

April 15, 2021

Some populations of neurons simultaneously process sensations and memories. New work shows how the brain rotates those representations to prevent interference.


The New Historian of the Smash That Made the Himalayas

April 14, 2021

About 60 million years ago, India plowed into Eurasia and pushed up the Himalayas. But when Lucía Pérez-Díaz reconstructed the event in detail, she found that its central mystery depended on a broken geological clock.

Photo of radio telescopes at the Allen Telescope Array with a starry sky featuring the Milky Way in the background.
Quantized Columns

How Radio Astronomy Reveals the Universe

April 13, 2021

Radio waves, longer and less energetic than visible light, give astronomers access to some of the most obscure physics in the cosmos.

3D illustration of Gardam's crystallographic group
group theory

Mathematician Disproves 80-Year-Old Algebra Conjecture

April 12, 2021

Inside the symmetries of a crystal shape, a postdoctoral researcher has unearthed a counterexample to a basic conjecture about multiplicative inverses.


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Illustration of a placenta that is a mosaic of different colors, with a connected fetus that is all one color.

New Genomic Study of Placenta Finds Deep Links to Cancer

A patchwork of genomic differences in the placenta may explain the organ’s “live fast, die young” strategy and its connections to cancer.

A sphere swirling with many small orbs around it.
particle physics

‘Last Hope’ Experiment Finds Evidence for Unknown Particles

April 7, 2021

Today’s long-anticipated announcement by Fermilab’s Muon g-2 team appears to solidify a tantalizing conflict between nature and theory. But a separate calculation, published at the same time, has clouded the picture.

planetary science

Iceland’s Eruptions Reveal the Hot History of Mars

April 6, 2021

The new volcanic fissures are more otherworldly than they first appear.

Side-by-side illustrations of the same linear hypergraph. The edges of the hypergraph are colored in the illustration on the right, but not in the illustration on the left.

Mathematicians Settle Erdős Coloring Conjecture

April 5, 2021

Fifty years ago, Paul Erdős and two other mathematicians came up with a graph theory problem that they thought they might solve on the spot. A team of mathematicians has finally settled it.

A close-up, head-on portrait of computer scientist Rediet Abebe.

A Computer Scientist Who Tackles Inequality Through Algorithms

April 1, 2021

Rediet Abebe uses the tools of theoretical computer science to understand pressing social problems — and try to fix them.