Kevin Hartnett

Senior Writer

Two mathematicians have proved that two different infinities are equal in size, settling a long-standing question. Their proof rests on a surprising link between the sizes of infinities and the complexity of mathematical theories.
infinity

Mathematicians Measure Infinities and Find They’re Equal

Two mathematicians have proved that two different infinities are equal in size, settling a long-standing question. Their proof rests on a surprising link between the sizes of infinities and the complexity of mathematical theories.

The color of LED lights is controlled by a clumsy process. A new mathematical discovery may make it easier for us to get the hues we want.
Abstractions blog

The Math That Promises to Make the World Brighter

The color of LED lights is controlled by a clumsy process. A new mathematical discovery may make it easier for us to get the hues we want.

The mathematician Svitlana Mayboroda and collaborators have figured out how to predict the behavior of electrons — a mathematical discovery that could have immediate practical effects.
mathematical physics

Mathematicians Tame Rogue Waves, Lighting Up Future of LEDs

The mathematician Svitlana Mayboroda and collaborators have figured out how to predict the behavior of electrons — a mathematical discovery that could have immediate practical effects.

It’s “a definitive study for all time, like writing the final book,” says one researcher who’s mapping out new classes of geometric structures.
Abstractions blog

Why Mathematicians Like to Classify Things

It’s “a definitive study for all time, like writing the final book,” says one researcher who’s mapping out new classes of geometric structures.

Two “rare jewels” have illuminated a mysterious multidimensional object that connects a huge variety of mathematical work.
geometry

New Shapes Solve Infinite Pool-Table Problem

Two “rare jewels” have illuminated a mysterious multidimensional object that connects a huge variety of mathematical work.

Kaisa Matomäki has proved that properties of prime numbers over long intervals hold over short intervals as well. The techniques she uses have transformed the study of these elusive numbers.
Q&A

Kaisa Matomäki Dreams of Primes

Kaisa Matomäki has proved that properties of prime numbers over long intervals hold over short intervals as well. The techniques she uses have transformed the study of these elusive numbers.

Big advances in math can happen when mathematicians move ideas into areas where they seem like they shouldn’t belong.
Abstractions blog

The Tricky Translation of Mathematical Ideas

Big advances in math can happen when mathematicians move ideas into areas where they seem like they shouldn’t belong.

June Huh thought he had no talent for math until a chance meeting with a legendary mind. A decade later, his unorthodox approach to mathematical thinking has led to major breakthroughs.
algebraic geometry

A Path Less Taken to the Peak of the Math World

June Huh thought he had no talent for math until a chance meeting with a legendary mind. A decade later, his unorthodox approach to mathematical thinking has led to major breakthroughs.

Paul Erdős placed small bounties on hundreds of unsolved math problems. Over the past 20 years, only a handful have been claimed.
Abstractions blog

Cash for Math: The Erdős Prizes Live On

Paul Erdős placed small bounties on hundreds of unsolved math problems. Over the past 20 years, only a handful have been claimed.

About the author

Kevin Hartnett is a senior writer at Quanta Magazine covering mathematics and computer science. His work has been collected in the “Best Writing on Mathematics” series in 2013 and 2016. From 2013-2016 he wrote “Brainiac,” a weekly column for the Boston Globe‘s Ideas section.