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Computer Science

A New Design for Cryptography’s Black Box

A recent cryptographic breakthrough has proven difficult to put into practice. But new advances show how near-perfect computer security might be surprisingly close at hand.


A Life in Games

The mathematician John Horton Conway’s myriad accomplishments — including the Game of Life, sprouts and the surreal numbers — are the product of a mind at play.


The Connoisseur of Number Sequences

For more than 50 years, the mathematician Neil Sloane has curated the authoritative collection of interesting and important integer sequences.

mathematical physics

Famous Fluid Equations Are Incomplete

A 115-year effort to bridge the particle and fluid descriptions of nature has led mathematicians to an unexpected answer.


The Nine Schoolgirls Challenge

Solve this variation of Thomas Kirkman’s famous 1850 puzzle by arranging girls in walking groups. And think fast — the clock is ticking.


A Design Dilemma Solved, Minus Designs

A 150-year-old conundrum about how to group people has been solved, but many puzzles remain.

foundations of mathematics

Will Computers Redefine the Roots of Math?

The Fields medalist Vladimir Voevodsky has died at 51. This 2015 article describes his computer-aided quest to eliminate human error and rewrite the century-old rules underlying all of mathematics.


For Persi Diaconis’ Next Magic Trick …

A mathematician who has analyzed card shuffling for decades is tackling one final nemesis: “smooshing.”


A Grand Theory of Wrinkles

A collaboration between mechanical engineers and mathematicians has revealed universal rules for how wrinkles form.