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insights puzzle

The Slippery Eel of Probability

How do you solve probability problems that appear to have more than one correct answer?

Biology

At Tiny Scales, a Giant Burst on Tree of Life

A new technique for finding and characterizing microbes has boosted the number of known bacteria by almost 50 percent, revealing a hidden world all around us.

Quantized Columns

The Rise of Computer-Aided Explanation

Computers can translate French and prove mathematical theorems. But can they make deep conceptual insights into the way the world works?

insights puzzle

Solution: ‘Information From Randomness?’

The counterintuitive solution to this month’s puzzle raises philosophical questions about randomness and information.

mathematical physics

Famous Fluid Equations Are Incomplete

A 115-year effort to bridge the particle and fluid descriptions of nature has led mathematicians to an unexpected answer.

complex systems

The New Laws of Explosive Networks

Researchers are uncovering the hidden laws that reveal how the Internet grows, how viruses spread, and how financial bubbles burst.

Biology

New Letters Added to the Genetic Alphabet

Scientists hope that new genetic letters, created in the lab, will endow DNA with new powers.

insights puzzle

Can Information Rise From Randomness?

Quanta’s new puzzle column asks you to believe the seemingly impossible — that you can win at a number guessing game with absolutely no information.

condensed matter physics

Paradoxical Crystal Baffles Physicists

At super-low temperatures, a crystal called samarium hexaboride behaves in an unexplained, imagination-stretching way.