Kevin Hartnett

Senior Writer

geometry

A Fight to Fix Geometry’s Foundations

When two mathematicians raised pointed questions about a classic proof that no one really understood, they ignited a years-long debate about how much could be trusted in a new kind of geometry.

Francis Su
Q&A

To Live Your Best Life, Do Mathematics

The ancient Greeks argued that the best life was filled with beauty, truth, justice, play and love. The mathematician Francis Su knows just where to find them.

Hyperbolic Crochet
Abstractions blog

How Curvature Makes a Shape a Shape

The ancient study of an object’s curvature is guiding mathematicians toward a new understanding of simple equations.

Julia Set Contest
Abstractions blog

Test Your Mathematical Sculpting Skills

Can you turn a two-dimensional fractal into a 3-D object? Break out your scissors and tape for a chance to win a 3-D printed sculpture.

3D "Basilica" Julia set
geometry

3-D Fractals Offer Clues to Complex Systems

By folding fractals into 3-D objects, a mathematical duo hopes to gain new insight into simple equations.

Q&A

How to Force Our Machines to Play Fair

The computer scientist Cynthia Dwork takes abstract concepts like privacy and fairness and adapts them into machine code for the algorithmic age.

LHC Collision Events - Visualization
Abstractions blog

The Math That’s Too Difficult for Physics

How do physicists reconstruct what really happened in a particle collision? Through calculations that are so challenging that, in some cases, they simply can’t be done. Yet.

mathematical physics

Strange Numbers Found in Particle Collisions

An unexpected connection has emerged between the results of physics experiments and an important, seemingly unrelated set of numbers in pure mathematics.

Pencils Down: Experiments in Education

Meet the New Math, Unlike the Old Math

The latest effort to overhaul math and science education offers a fundamental rethinking of the basic structure of knowledge. But will it be given time to work?