Kevin Hartnett

Senior Writer

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

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

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.

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 at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J.
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
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.

Combinatorics and constellations

A Puzzle of Clever Connections Nears a Happy End

The three young friends who devised the “happy ending” problem would become some of the most influential mathematicians of the 20th century, but were never able to solve their own puzzle. Now it receives its first big breakthrough.