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Mathematics - abstract illustration
2018 in Review

The Year in Math and Computer Science

Several mathematicians under the age of 30 left their marks all over the field, and amateur problem-solvers of all ages made significant contributions to long-dormant puzzles.

Biology - abstract illustration
2018 in Review

The Year in Biology

Biologists gained new insights into life’s genomically tumultuous past, viruses as crucial components of life, the hidden talents of complex cells and basic aspects of cognition and memory.

Physics - abstract illustration
2018 in Review

The Year in Physics

The field of fundamental physics is experiencing both a period of confusion and an openness to new ideas.

In Theory

How Complex Wholes Emerge From Simple Parts

Throughout nature, throngs of relatively simple elements can self-organize into behaviors that seem unexpectedly complex. Scientists are beginning to understand why and how these phenomena emerge without a central organizing entity.

Art for "Milestone Experiment Proves Quantum Communication Really Is Faster"
quantum computing

Milestone Experiment Proves Quantum Communication Really Is Faster

In a Paris lab, researchers have shown for the first time that quantum methods of transmitting information are superior to classical ones.

Q&A

The Woman Who Gets Called When a Piece of Mars Falls From the Sky

Planetary geologist Meenakshi Wadhwa uses Martian meteorites to trace the history of our solar system.

Illustration of lock with polynomials surrounding it
Abstractions blog

Mathematicians Seal Back Door to Breaking RSA Encryption

Digital security depends on the difficulty of factoring large numbers. A new proof shows why one method for breaking digital encryption won’t work.

Art for "New Studies Rescue Gravitational-Wave Signal From the Noise"
gravitational waves

New Studies Rescue Gravitational-Wave Signal From the Noise

Two independent papers vanquish lingering doubts about LIGO’s historic discovery of gravitational waves.

Art for "A ‘Self-Aware’ Fish Raises Doubts About a Cognitive Test"
neuroscience

A ‘Self-Aware’ Fish Raises Doubts About a Cognitive Test

A report that a fish can pass the “mirror test” for self-awareness reignites debates about how to define and measure that elusive quality.