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Art for "Adaptations or Neutral Changes? Evolutionary Theory Seeks a Balance"

Theorists Debate How ‘Neutral’ Evolution Really Is

For 50 years, evolutionary theory has emphasized the importance of neutral mutations rather than adaptive ones at the level of DNA. Real genomic data challenges that assumption.

abstractions blog

New Proof Shows Infinite Curves Come in Two Types

Alexander Smith’s work on the Goldfeld conjecture reveals fundamental characteristics of elliptic curves.

Art for "In the Nucleus, Genes’ Activity Might Depend on Their Position"
cell biology

In the Nucleus, Genes’ Activity Might Depend on Their Location

Using a new CRISPR-based technique, researchers are examining how the position of DNA within the nucleus affects gene expression and cell function.


Mystery Math Whiz and Novelist Advance Permutation Problem

A new proof from the Australian science fiction writer Greg Egan and a 2011 proof anonymously posted online are now being hailed as significant advances on a puzzle mathematicians have been studying for at least 25 years.

Ewine van Dishoeck at Noordwijk beach in the Netherlands.
Thinking Places

Ewine van Dishoeck, the Netherlander Who Traced Water’s Origin

The astrochemist and winner of the 2018 Kavli Prize in Astrophysics has wondered about the cosmic origin of water while enjoying Noordwijk beach near her hometown of Leiden.

number theory

Without a Proof, Mathematicians Wonder How Much Evidence Is Enough

A new statistical model appears to undermine long-held assumptions in number theory. How much should it be trusted when all that really matters is proof?


Astronomers Creep Up to the Edge of the Milky Way’s Black Hole

Hot spots have been discovered orbiting just outside the supermassive black hole at the galaxy’s center. Their motions have given us the closest look at that violent environment.

Art for "Scientists Learn the Ropes on Tying Molecular Knots"

Scientists Learn the Ropes on Tying Molecular Knots

As chemists tie the most complicated molecular knot yet, biophysicists create a “periodic table” that describes what kinds of knots are possible.

Quantized Academy

The (Imaginary) Numbers at the Edge of Reality

Odd enough to potentially model the strangeness of the physical world, complex numbers with “imaginary” components are rooted in the familiar.