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Mathematics

insights puzzle

How to Solve Our Three John Conway-Inspired Puzzles

November 20, 2020

A numerical puzzle, a geometric puzzle and a game of random patterns — all with connections to the legendary mathematician — elicited an enthusiastic response from readers.

Quantized Academy

Some Math Problems Seem Impossible. That Can Be a Good Thing.

November 18, 2020

Struggling with math problems that can’t be solved helps us better understand the ones we can.

Q&A

Searching Symbols for the Rules of Change

November 17, 2020

Bryna Kra searches for the patterns in sequences of numbers that explain how complicated dynamical systems evolve over time.

Black and white historical photo of eight men in front of a building, including Henri Cartan, André Weil and Szolem Mandelbrojt.
Abstractions blog

Inside the Secret Math Society Known Simply as Nicolas Bourbaki

November 9, 2020

For almost a century, the anonymous members of Nicolas Bourbaki have written books intended as pure expressions of mathematical thought.

combinatorics

Disorder Persists in Larger Graphs, New Math Proof Finds

David Conlon and Asaf Ferber have raised the lower bound for multicolor “Ramsey numbers,” which quantify how big graphs can get before patterns inevitably emerge.

Harvard professor L. Mahadevan stands in a slightly cluttered office, holding an apple and a jar containing a miniature brain
Q&A

A Scientist Who Delights in the Mundane

October 26, 2020

From crumpled paper to termite mounds to three-sided coins, L. Mahadevan has turned the whole world into his laboratory.

A visualization of the tower formed by the 3-adic numbers
Abstractions blog

An Infinite Universe of Number Systems

October 19, 2020

The p-adics form an infinite collection of number systems based on prime numbers. They’re at the heart of modern number theory.

insights puzzle

Celebrating the Playful Magic of John Horton Conway

October 15, 2020

Have fun exploring a numerical puzzle, a geometric puzzle and a game of random patterns, all inspired by the playful genius of the legendary mathematician.

Illustration of researchers building and writing a digital library, which helps a humanoid robot do advanced math
foundations of mathematics

Building the Mathematical Library of the Future

October 1, 2020

A small community of mathematicians is using a software program called Lean to build a new digital repository. They hope it represents the future of their field.