Kevin Hartnett

Senior Writer

Photo of AlphaGo board by dreamdream | Quanta Magazine
Abstractions blog

Artificial Intelligence Learns to Learn Entirely on Its Own

A new version of AlphaGo needed no human instruction to figure out how to clobber the best Go player in the world — itself.

Vladimir Voevodsky
Abstractions blog

Visionary Mathematician Vladimir Voevodsky Dies at 51

Voevodsky’s friends remember him as constitutionally unable to compromise on the truth — a quality that led him to produce some of the most important mathematics of the 20th century.

Measuring tapes
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.

Lucy Reading-Ikkanda/Quanta Magazine
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.

Svitlana Mayboroda
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.

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.

Heavenly billiards
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
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.

Graph
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.