All Articles

520px illustration of a man falling and missing a hay stack to land on.
insights puzzle

Solution: ‘When Probability Meets Real Life’

When our brains don’t have a good intuition for reasoning with numbers, explicit probabilistic thinking can lead to improved decision-making.

520px illustration for cell incubation time.
mathematical biology

Why Don’t Patients Get Sick in Sync? Modelers Find Statistical Clues

The long, variable times that some diseases incubate after infection defies simple explanation. An idealized model of tumor growth offers a statistical solution.

520px illustration for higgs fakes
condensed matter physics

Elusive Higgs-Like State Created in Exotic Materials

Two teams of physicists have created the “Higgs mode” – a link between particle physics and the physics of matter. The work could help researchers understand the strange behavior of deeply quantum systems.

520px photo of Barbara Engelhardt
Q&A

A Statistical Search for Genomic Truths

The computer scientist Barbara Engelhardt develops machine-learning models and methods to scour human genomes for the elusive causes and mechanisms of disease.

520px photo of army ants forming a bridge
Abstractions blog

The Simple Algorithm That Ants Use to Build Bridges

Even with no one in charge, army ants work collectively to build bridges out of their bodies. New research reveals the simple rules that lead to such complex group behavior.

520px illustration of genome packaging
genomics

How Cells Pack Tangled DNA Into Neat Chromosomes

For the first time, researchers see how proteins grab loops of DNA and bundle them for cell division. The discovery also hints at how the genome folds to regulate gene expression.

520px photo of a robot holding a wooden puzzle block
artificial intelligence

Why Self-Taught Artificial Intelligence Has Trouble With the Real World

The latest artificial intelligence systems start from zero knowledge of a game and grow to world-beating in a matter of hours. But researchers are struggling to apply these systems beyond the arcade.

520px photo of Joe Polchinski
Quantized Columns

Physicists Mourn Joe Polchinski, Developer of Deep Ideas and Paradoxes

The theoretical physicist Joe Polchinski, who died Feb. 2, left a tremendous professional and personal legacy, says a friend and collaborator.

520px illustration for scale=free networks
network science

Scant Evidence of Power Laws Found in Real-World Networks

A new study challenges one of the most celebrated and controversial ideas in network science.