Kevin Hartnett

Senior Writer

Illustration of a black hole with a Cauchy horizon
general relativity

Mathematicians Disprove Conjecture Made to Save Black Holes

May 17, 2018

Mathematicians have disproved the strong cosmic censorship conjecture. Their work answers one of the most important questions in the study of general relativity and changes the way we think about space-time.

Photo of Judea Pearl
Q&A

To Build Truly Intelligent Machines, Teach Them Cause and Effect

May 15, 2018

Judea Pearl, a pioneering figure in artificial intelligence, argues that AI has been stuck in a decades-long rut. His prescription for progress? Teach machines to understand the question why.

Art for "Three Decades Later, Mystery Numbers Explained"
Abstractions blog

Three Decades Later, Mystery Numbers Explained

May 3, 2018

Zeta values seem to connect distant geometric worlds. In a new proof, mathematicians finally explain why.

Illustration for "Mathematicians Explore Mirror Link Between Two Geometric Worlds"
geometry

Mathematicians Explore Mirror Link Between Two Geometric Worlds

April 9, 2018

Decades after physicists happened upon a stunning mathematical coincidence, researchers are getting close to understanding the link between two seemingly unrelated geometric universes.

520px photo of Robert Langlands
Abstractions blog

Robert Langlands, Mathematical Visionary, Wins the Abel Prize

March 20, 2018

Generations of researchers have pursued his “Langlands program,” which seeks to create a grand unified theory of mathematics.

Photograph of Albert Einstein in his office at the University of Berlin, published in the USA in 1920.
Abstractions blog

How Einstein Lost His Bearings, and With Them, General Relativity

March 14, 2018

By 1913, Albert Einstein had nearly completed general relativity. But a simple mistake set him on a tortured, two-year reconsideration of his theory. Today, mathematicians still grapple with the issues he confronted.

Animated illustration of a black hole in a cube of jelly
mathematical physics

To Test Einstein’s Equations, Poke a Black Hole

March 8, 2018

Two teams of researchers have made significant progress toward proving the black hole stability conjecture, a critical mathematical test of Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

520px photo of army ants forming a bridge
Abstractions blog

The Simple Algorithm That Ants Use to Build Bridges

February 26, 2018

Even with no one in charge, army ants work collectively to build bridges out of their bodies. New research reveals the simple rules that lead to such complex group behavior.

520px photo of smarticles
Computer Science

Smart Swarms Seek New Ways to Cooperate

February 14, 2018

New algorithms show how swarms of very simple robots can be made to work together as a group.