All Articles

Q&A

A Cosmic-Ray Hunter Takes to the Sky

April 27, 2017

Angela Olinto’s new balloon experiment takes her one step closer to the unknown source of the most energetic particles in the universe.

Illustration: black, numbered cats crossing a calendar. An extra "13" lurks in the background.
insights puzzle

Solution: ‘Friday the 13th’

April 26, 2017

There’s more than one good way to bring order to our unruly, seemingly arbitrary calendar.

cell biology

The Secret Power of the Cell’s Waste Bin

April 25, 2017

Trash collectors in the cell moonlight at the controls of the genetic machinery.

Q&A

A Map of Human History, Hidden in DNA

April 20, 2017

The computational biologist John Novembre uses our genetic code to rewrite the history of humanity.

astrophysics

A Cosmic Burst Repeats, Deepen­ing a Mystery

April 18, 2017

After a surprise discovery, astrophysicists are racing to understand superenergetic flashes of radio waves that sometimes beep out from distant galaxies.

Abstractions blog

A Simple Visual Proof of a Powerful Idea

April 13, 2017

Ramsey’s theorem predicts a surprising (and useful) consistency in the organization of graphs. Here’s a simple visual proof of how it works.

Abstractions blog

How to Use a Sphere to Talk to Mars

April 12, 2017

To avoid garbled messages, mathematicians might translate them into geometric form.

Icosahedron
geometry

A New Path to Equal-Angle Lines

April 11, 2017

Equiangular lines are an elemental part of geometry. Mathematicians have discovered a tighter limit on the number of such lines that exist in every dimension.

Illustration: black, numbered cats crossing a calendar. An extra "13" lurks in the background.
insights puzzle

Is It Friday the 13th Again?

April 6, 2017

How our society defines years, months and weeks can seem frustratingly arbitrary. Can you bring order to our unruly calendar?