All Articles

Illustration of three black holes on a starry background
Abstractions blog

To Make Two Black Holes Collide, Try Three

August 15, 2019

How do black holes merge and make gravitational waves? Maybe with a little help from their friends.

A dartboard with pi at its center.
number theory

New Proof Settles How to Approximate Numbers Like Pi

August 14, 2019

The ancient Greeks wondered when “irrational” numbers can be approximated by fractions. By proving the longstanding Duffin-Schaeffer conjecture, two mathematicians have provided a complete answer.

Art for "Color Me Polynomial"
Quantized Academy

Color Me Polynomial

August 13, 2019

Polynomials aren’t just exercises in abstraction. They’re good at illuminating structure in surprising places.

An illustration of a machine with two mechanical arms sorts cells by size into processing lines marked “Asymmetric Division” and “Symmetric Division.”
developmental biology

For Embryo’s Cells, Size Can Determine Fate

August 12, 2019

Modeling suggests that many embryonic cells commit to a developmental fate when they become too small to divide unevenly anymore.

An illustration of the cosmologists Wendy Freedman and Adam Riess debating the expansion rate of the universe at a recent meeting at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics in Santa Barbara, California.
cosmology

Cosmologists Debate How Fast the Universe Is Expanding

August 8, 2019

New measurements could upend the standard theory of the cosmos that has reigned since the discovery of dark energy 21 years ago.

Carlo Rubbia giving a lecture with a colorful PowerPoint slide on the screen behind him.
Q&A

A Call for Courage as Physicists Confront Collider Dilemma

August 7, 2019

Carlo Rubbia, leader of the bold collider experiment that in 1983 discovered the W and Z bosons, thinks particle physicists should now smash muons together in an innovative “Higgs factory.”

Abstractions blog

In Brain’s Electrical Ripples, Markers for Memories Appear

August 6, 2019

Researchers found that elongating certain brain signals in rats improved their memory. The work revealed a new property to look out for in the hunt for “biomarkers” of learning.

VIDEO OPENER: TIME-LAPSE OF FLOWER OPENING.
botany

Unexpected ‘Germline’ Plant Cells May Shield New Generations

August 5, 2019

To avoid passing on new mutations to offspring, plants may minimize the number of divisions by the stem cells that make flowers and seeds.

universality

The Universal Law That Aims Time’s Arrow

August 1, 2019

A new look at a ubiquitous phenomenon has uncovered unexpected fractal behavior that could give us clues about the early universe and the arrow of time.