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Art for "The Brain Maps Out Ideas and Memories Like Spaces"
neuroscience

The Brain Maps Out Ideas and Memories Like Spaces

Emerging evidence suggests that the brain encodes abstract knowledge in the same way that it represents positions in space, which hints at a more universal theory of cognition.

Photo of Been Kim
Q&A

A New Approach to Understanding How Machines Think

Neural networks are famously incomprehensible, so Been Kim is developing a “translator for humans.”

Art for "Missing Galaxies? Now There’s Too Many"
astrophysics

Missing Galaxies? Now There’s Too Many

Astronomers couldn’t find enough satellite galaxies orbiting the Milky Way. Now they have the opposite problem.

Abstractions blog

Jellyfish Genome Hints That Complexity Isn’t Genetically Complex

Jellyfish didn’t need novel genes to take an evolutionary leap in complexity.

Art for "Why the Best Place to Find Dark Matter May Be in a Rock"
dark matter

Why the Best Place to Find Dark Matter May Be in a Rock

Dark matter may occasionally interact with minerals in the earth, leaving telltale tracks that physicists hope to decipher.

Art for "How Space and Time Could Be a Quantum Error-Correcting Code"
space-time

How Space and Time Could Be a Quantum Error-Correcting Code

The same codes needed to thwart errors in quantum computers may also give the fabric of space-time its intrinsic robustness.

Abstractions blog

Ancient Turing Pattern Builds Feathers, Hair — and Now, Shark Skin

A primordial developmental toolkit shared by all vertebrates, and described by a theory of the mathematician Alan Turing, sets the growth pattern for all types of skin structures.

Crossword puzzle - abstract illustration
2018 in Review

Quanta’s Science and Math Crossword Puzzle

Celebrate a year’s worth of scientific and mathematical insights by solving this brain-teasing cryptic crossword from our puzzle columnist.

Mathematics - abstract illustration
2018 in Review

The Year in Math and Computer Science

Several mathematicians under the age of 30 left their marks all over the field, and amateur problem-solvers of all ages made significant contributions to long-dormant puzzles.