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Photo illustration of Akshay Venkatesh
2018 Fields Medal and Nevanlinna Prize Winners

A Number Theorist Who Bridges Math and Time

Akshay Venkatesh, a former prodigy who struggled with the genius stereotype, has won a Fields Medal for his “profound contributions to an exceptionally broad range of subjects in mathematics.”

Photo illustration of Constantinos Daskalakis
2018 Fields Medal and Nevanlinna Prize Winners

A Poet of Computation Who Uncovers Distant Truths

The theoretical computer scientist Constantinos Daskalakis has won the Rolf Nevanlinna Prize for explicating core questions in game theory and machine learning.

Photo of Dr. Peter Scholze
2018 Fields Medal and Nevanlinna Prize Winners

A Master of Numbers and Shapes Who Is Rewriting Arithmetic

The 30-year-old math sensation Peter Scholze is now one of the youngest Fields medalists for “the revolution that he launched in arithmetic geometry.”

Photo illustration of Caucher Birkar
2018 Fields Medal and Nevanlinna Prize Winners

An Innovator Who Brings Order to an Infinitude of Equations

The mathematician Caucher Birkar was born on a subsistence farm and raised in the middle of the brutal war between Iran and Iraq. After fleeing to England, he has gone on to impose order on a wild landscape of mathematical equations.

Photo illustration of Alessio Figalli
2018 Fields Medal and Nevanlinna Prize Winners

A Traveler Who Finds Stability in the Natural World

The mathematician Alessio Figalli is rarely in one place for very long. But his work has established the stability of everything from crystals to weather fronts by using concepts derived from Napoleonic fortifications.

Art for "Major Quantum Computing Advance Made Obsolete by Teenager"
quantum computing

Major Quantum Computing Advance Made Obsolete by Teenager

18-year-old Ewin Tang has proven that classical computers can solve the “recommendation problem” nearly as fast as quantum computers. The result eliminates one of the best examples of quantum speedup.

Art for "A Math Theory for Why People Hallucinate"

A Math Theory for Why People Hallucinate

Psychedelic drugs can trigger characteristic hallucinations, which have long been thought to hold clues about the brain’s circuitry. After nearly a century of study, a possible explanation is crystallizing.

Photo of Escherichia coli under a microscope
Abstractions blog

Swarming Bacteria Create an ‘Impossible’ Superfluid

Researchers explore a loophole that extracts useful energy from a fluid’s seemingly random motion. The secret? Sugar and asymmetry.

quantum mechanics

Closed Loophole Confirms the Unreality of the Quantum World

A quickly closed loophole has proved that the “great smoky dragon” of quantum mechanics may forever elude capture.