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Art for "With Ruler and Compass, Amateur Mathematician Tames Fiendish Problem"

Amateur Mathematician Finds Smallest Universal Cover

Through exacting geometric calculations, Philip Gibbs has found the smallest known cover for any possible shape.

Art for "How Holography Could Help Solve Quantum Gravity"
In Theory

How Holography Could Help Solve Quantum Gravity

In the latest campaign to reconcile Einstein’s theory of gravity with quantum mechanics, many physicists are studying how a higher dimensional space that includes gravity arises like a hologram from a lower dimensional particle theory.

Valeria Pettorino in the woods near CosmoStat

An Italian Cosmologist Who Wanders in Dante’s Dark Wood

A scientist and programmer with a literary bent, Valeria Pettorino thinks multiple angles and diverse points of view are needed to unriddle the nature of dark matter and dark energy.

Art for "Stem Cells Remember Tissues’ Past Injuries"
developmental biology

Stem Cells Remember Tissues’ Past Injuries

Stem cells seem to retain memories of old injuries to improve future healing. When that system goes wrong, chronic inflammation can result.

Art for "How Equality and Inequality Shape the Birds and the Bees"
insights puzzle

Solution: ‘How Equality and Inequality Shape Birds and Bees’

Puzzle solvers explored how evolution may have used negative and positive control mechanisms to shape the conflicting parental functions of reproduction and child rearing.

Art for "Adaptations or Neutral Changes? Evolutionary Theory Seeks a Balance"

Theorists Debate How ‘Neutral’ Evolution Really Is

For 50 years, evolutionary theory has emphasized the importance of neutral mutations rather than adaptive ones at the level of DNA. Real genomic data challenges that assumption.

abstractions blog

New Proof Shows Infinite Curves Come in Two Types

Alexander Smith’s work on the Goldfeld conjecture reveals fundamental characteristics of elliptic curves.

Art for "In the Nucleus, Genes’ Activity Might Depend on Their Position"
cell biology

In the Nucleus, Genes’ Activity Might Depend on Their Location

Using a new CRISPR-based technique, researchers are examining how the position of DNA within the nucleus affects gene expression and cell function.


Mystery Math Whiz and Novelist Advance Permutation Problem

A new proof from the Australian science fiction writer Greg Egan and a 2011 proof anonymously posted online are now being hailed as significant advances on a puzzle mathematicians have been studying for at least 25 years.