Kevin Hartnett

Senior Writer

Abstractions blog

How Randomness Can Make Math Easier

Randomness would seem to make a mathematical statement harder to prove. In fact, it often does the opposite.


Random Surfaces Hide an Intricate Order

Mathematicians have proved that a random process applied to a random surface will yield consistent patterns.

Photo of a silver metal plate with chips mounted on its surface.
Abstractions blog

A New Law to Describe Quantum Computing’s Rise?

Neven’s law states that quantum computers are improving at a “doubly exponential” rate. If it holds, quantum supremacy is around the corner.


A Mathematician Whose Only Constant Is Change

Amie Wilkinson searches for exotic examples of the mathematical structures that describe change.

Art for "Computer Scientists Expand the Frontier of Verifiable Knowledge"
quantum information theory

Computer Scientists Expand the Frontier of Verifiable Knowledge

The universe of problems that a computer can check has grown. The researchers’ secret ingredient? Quantum entanglement.

Art for "Universal Pattern Explains Why Materials Conduct"
mathematical physics

Universal Pattern Explains Why Materials Conduct

Mathematicians have found that materials conduct electricity when electrons follow a universal mathematical pattern.

Art for "A New Approach to Multiplication Opens the Door to Better Quantum Computers"
Abstractions blog

A New Approach to Multiplication Opens the Door to Better Quantum Computers

Quantum computers can’t selectively forget information. A new algorithm for multiplication shows a way around that problem.

Art for "Mathematicians Discover the Perfect Way to Multiply"
number theory

Mathematicians Discover the Perfect Way to Multiply

By chopping up large numbers into smaller ones, researchers have rewritten a fundamental mathematical speed limit.

Art for "Cryptography That Can’t Be Hacked"
computer security

Cryptography That Can’t Be Hacked

Researchers have just released hacker-proof cryptographic code — programs with the same level of invincibility as a mathematical proof.

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, 2016 and 2017. From 2013-2016 he wrote “Brainiac,” a weekly column for the Boston Globe‘s Ideas section.