Kevin Hartnett

Senior Writer

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.

Art for "In Quantum Games, There’s No Way to Play the Odds"
Abstractions blog

In Quantum Games, There’s No Way to Play the Odds

These games combine quantum entanglement, infinity and impossible-to-calculate winning probabilities. But if researchers can crack them, they’ll reveal deep mathematical secrets.

Art for "Proof Finds That All Change Is a Mix of Order and Randomness"
dynamical systems

Proof Finds That All Change Is a Mix of Order and Randomness

All descriptions of change are a unique blend of chance and determinism, according to the sweeping mathematical proof of the “weak Pinsker conjecture.”

Art for "The Universe’s Ultimate Complexity Revealed by Simple Quantum Games"
quantum information theory

The Universe’s Ultimate Complexity Revealed by Simple Quantum Games

A two-player game can reveal whether the universe has an infinite amount of complexity.

Art for "Smaller Is Better: Why Finite Number Systems Pack More Punch"
Abstractions blog

Smaller Is Better: Why Finite Number Systems Pack More Punch

Recent progress on the “sum product” problem recalls a celebrated mathematical result that revealed the power of miniature number systems.

number theory

How a Strange Grid Reveals Hidden Connections Between Simple Numbers

A graduate student has helped illuminate a long-suspected connection between addition and multiplication.

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.