All Articles

A man standing in the Arctic tundra holds up a large photo of a swamp.
geology

Sudden Ancient Global Warming Event Traced to Magma Flood

March 19, 2020

A study has cemented the link between an intense global warming episode 56 million years ago and volcanism in the North Atlantic, with implications for modern climate change.

An animation showing a 3-by-3 Latin square, with numbers color coded, and the equivalent graph.
Abstractions blog

‘Rainbows’ Are a Mathematician’s Best Friend

March 18, 2020

“Rainbow colorings” recently led to a new proof. It’s not the first time they’ve come in handy.

Swirling video.
Abstractions blog

Axions Would Solve Another Major Problem in Physics

March 17, 2020

In a new paper, physicists argue that hypothetical particles called axions could explain why the universe isn’t empty.

Multimedia

What Is the Geometry of the Universe?

March 16, 2020

In our mind’s eye, the universe seems to go on forever. But using geometry we can explore a variety of three-dimensional shapes that offer alternatives to “ordinary” infinite space.

Photo of Ronald Rivest sitting in his office
Q&A

Cryptography Pioneer Seeks Secure Elections the Low-Tech Way

March 12, 2020

Ronald Rivest helped come up with the RSA algorithm, which safeguards online commerce. Now he’s hoping to make democratic elections more trustworthy.

A close-up of fossilized amber.
materials science

Ideal Glass Would Explain Why Glass Exists at All

March 11, 2020

Glass is anything that’s rigid like a crystal, yet made of disordered molecules like a liquid. To understand why it exists, researchers are attempting to create the perfect, still-hypothetical “ideal glass.”

Quantized Academy

How Rational Math Catches Slippery Irrational Numbers

March 10, 2020

Finding the best way to approximate the ever-elusive irrational numbers pits the infinitely large against the infinitely small.

An illustration in which a capsule-shaped drug imprinted with circuit-board diagrams blasts nearby bacteria.
artificial intelligence

Machine Learning Takes On Antibiotic Resistance

March 9, 2020

To combat resistant bacteria and refill the trickling antibiotic pipeline, scientists are getting help from deep learning networks.

A rock, a piece of paper and a pair of scissors, each formed from a mass of microbes, are arranged in a cycle.
ecology

Biodiversity May Thrive Through Games of Rock-Paper-Scissors

March 5, 2020

Recent findings add weight to the evidence that the intransitive competitions between species enrich the diversity of nature.