All Articles

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.

cosmology

Why the Big Bang’s Light May Have a Tilt

Scientists haven’t tested the Big Bang’s light for a revealing shift in 25 years. A new experiment aims to change that.

Q&A

Decoding the Remarkable Algorithms of Ants

The biologist Deborah Gordon has uncovered how ant colonies search efficiently without central organization, an insight that might improve computer networks.

Physics

The Fuzzball Fix for a Black Hole Paradox

By replacing black holes with fuzzballs — dense, star-like objects from string theory — researchers think they can avoid some knotty paradoxes at the edge of physics.

evolution

Biologists Invoke the Past in Modern Bacteria

By swapping ancient genes into modern E. coli, scientists hope to tease out the rules of evolution.

microbes

Below Our Feet, a World of Hidden Life

The soil teems with billions of hidden microbes. Researchers have begun to catalog how these organisms are changing the world.

Multimedia

The Nine Schoolgirls Challenge

Solve this variation of Thomas Kirkman’s famous 1850 puzzle by arranging girls in walking groups. And think fast — the clock is ticking.

Mathematics

A Design Dilemma Solved, Minus Designs

A 150-year-old conundrum about how to group people has been solved, but many puzzles remain.