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Q&A

A Mathematician Whose Only Constant Is Change

Amie Wilkinson searches for exotic examples of the mathematical structures that describe change.

Art for "Bacterial Complexity Revises Ideas About ‘Which Came First?’"
cell biology

Bacterial Complexity Revises Ideas About ‘Which Came First?’

Contrary to popular belief, bacteria have organelles too. Scientists are now studying them for insights into how complex cells evolved.

Abstractions blog

A Close Look at Newborn Planets Reveals Hints of Infant Moons

Astronomers have discovered a complex planetary system still swirling into existence.

Abstractions blog

Do Brains Operate at a Tipping Point? New Clues and Complications

New experimental results simultaneously advance and challenge the theory that the brain’s network of neurons balances on the knife-edge between two phases.

cosmology

Physicists Debate Hawking’s Idea That the Universe Had No Beginning

A recent challenge to Stephen Hawking’s biggest idea — about how the universe might have come from nothing — has cosmologists choosing sides.

Art for "Quantum Leaps, Long Assumed to Be Instantaneous, Take Time"
quantum physics

Quantum Leaps, Long Assumed to Be Instantaneous, Take Time

An experiment caught a quantum system in the middle of a jump — something the originators of quantum mechanics assumed was impossible.

Colorized scanning electron micrograph of a T lymphocyte.
Abstractions blog

Immune Cells Measure Time to Identify Foreign Proteins

Immunologists confirm an old hunch: T-cells identify what belongs in the body by timing how long they can bind to it.

Illustration of Fermat's Last Theorem
Quantized Columns

Why the Proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem Doesn’t Need to Be Enhanced

Decades after the landmark proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem, ideas abound for how to make it even more reliable. But such efforts reflect a deep misunderstanding of what makes the proof so important.

Art for "The Body’s Clock Offers a Rhythmic Target to Viruses"
chronobiology

The Body’s Clock Offers a Rhythmic Target to Viruses

Viruses and other parasites may sync with their host’s biological clock — or reset it — to gain an advantage.