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Is AlphaGo Really Such a Big Deal?

The Go-playing program teaches itself to replicate something very much like human intuition, an advance that promises far-reaching consequences.

synthetic biology

In Newly Created Life-Form, a Major Mystery

Scientists have created a synthetic organism that possesses only the genes it needs to survive. But they have no idea what roughly a third of those genes do.

insights puzzle

Solution: A Hat Trick + 1 of Hat Puzzles

For four game show variations of the hat puzzle, four clever ways to earn a better payoff than you might expect.

neuroscience

The Beasts That Keep the Beat

New insights from neuroscience — aided by a small zoo’s worth of dancing animals — are revealing the biological origins of rhythm.

Q&A

In Warm, Greasy Puddles, the Spark of Life?

The biologist David Deamer proposes that life evolved from a collection of interacting molecules, probably in a pool in the shadow of a volcano.

number theory

Mathematicians Discover Prime Conspiracy

A previously unnoticed property of prime numbers seems to violate a long-standing assumption about how they behave.

ecology

A Timely Fix for a Grand Theory of Nature

A disarmingly simple model of ecology does everything well — except predict how rapidly nature can change. Can it become more realistic while still avoiding all of biology’s messy complexities?

insights puzzle

A Hat Trick of Hat Puzzles

In three new variations of a famous logic puzzle, what are the best strategies for guessing the color of the hat on your head?

Q&A

Michael Atiyah’s Imaginative State of Mind

At 86, Britain’s preeminent mathematical matchmaker is still tackling the big questions and dreaming of a union between the quantum and the gravitational forces.