All Articles

insights puzzle

Why Sleeping Beauty Is Lost in Time

The famous Sleeping Beauty problem has divided probability theorists, decision theorists and philosophers for over 15 years. Puzzle columnist Pradeep Mutalik claims to have discovered the source of confusion.

geometry

Sphere Packing Solved in Higher Dimensions

The Ukrainian mathematician Maryna Viazovska has solved the centuries-old sphere-packing problem in dimensions eight and 24.

Quantized Columns

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?