How Math Has Changed the Shape of Gerrymandering
New tools make it possible to detect hidden manipulation of maps.
What Is the Nature of Consciousness?
Consciousness, our experience of being in the world, is one of the mind’s greatest mysteries, but as the neuroscientist Anil Seth explains to Steven Strogatz, research is making progress in understanding this elusive phenomenon.
Data Compression Drives the Internet. Here’s How It Works.
One student’s desire to get out of a final exam led to the ubiquitous algorithm that shrinks data without sacrificing information.
How 3D Changes in the Genome Turned Sharks Into Skates
Changes in the 3D structure of their genome gave skates and rays their distinctive winglike fins and pancake flatness.
The Physicist Who Glues Together Universes
Renate Loll has helped pioneer a radically new approach to quantum gravity. She assumes that the fabric of space-time is a blend of all possible fabrics, and she has developed the computational tools needed to calculate the far-reaching implications of that assumption.
Is It Real or Imagined? How Your Brain Tells the Difference.
New experiments show that the brain distinguishes between perceived and imagined mental images by checking whether they cross a “reality threshold.”
Math Patterns That Go On Forever but Never Repeat
Simple math can help explain the complexities of the newly discovered aperiodic monotile.
Some Neural Networks Learn Language Like Humans
Researchers uncover striking parallels in the ways that humans and machine learning models acquire language skills.
Secret Messages Can Hide in AI-Generated Media
In steganography, an ordinary message masks the presence of a secret communication. Humans can never do it perfectly, but a new study shows it’s possible for machines.