Jordana Cepelewicz

Staff Writer

Art for "The Math That Tells Cells What They Are"
mathematical biology

The Math That Tells Cells What They Are

During development, cells seem to decode their fate through optimal information processing, which could hint at a more general principle of life.

Abstractions blog

Smarter Parts Make Collective Systems Too Stubborn

As researchers delve deeper into the behavior of decentralized collective systems, they’re beginning to question some of their initial assumptions.

Art for "How the Brain Creates a Timeline of the Past"
neuroscience

How the Brain Creates a Timeline of the Past

The brain can’t directly encode the passage of time, but recent work hints at a workaround for putting timestamps on memories of events.

A row of skulls ending with homo sapiens, foreground, found at The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History’s Hall of Human Origins.
Abstractions blog

Artificial Intelligence Finds Ancient ‘Ghosts’ in Modern DNA

With the help of deep learning techniques, paleoanthropologists find evidence of long-lost branches on the human family tree.

Photo of the female penis structure of the cave insect Neotrogla aurora.
Abstractions blog

Why Evolution Reversed These Insects’ Sex Organs

Among these cave insects, the females evolved to have penises — twice. The reasons challenge common assumptions about sex.

Abstractions blog

Gene Drives Work in Mice (if They’re Female)

Biologists have demonstrated for the first time that a controversial genetic engineering technology works, with caveats, in mammals.

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.

Abstractions blog

What Defines a Stem Cell? Scientists Rethink the Answer

As it becomes clear that the body’s cells have more diverse regenerative capabilities than expected, experts have had to reconsider their approach to stem cell research.

Art for "Biology and Computer Science Explore Algorithmic Evolution"
mathematical biology

Mathematical Simplicity May Drive Evolution’s Speed

Some researchers are using a complexity framework thought to be purely theoretical to understand evolutionary dynamics in biological and computational systems.

About the author

Jordana Cepelewicz is a staff writer at Quanta Magazine who covers biology. Her writing about mathematics, neuroscience and other subjects has also appeared in Nautilus and Scientific American. Before entering the world of science reporting, Jordana did editorial work at Harper’s MagazinePolitico and Tea Leaf Nation. She graduated from Yale University in 2015 with bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and comparative literature.