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Thaumatophyllum bipinnatifidum leaf
botany

DNA Analysis Reveals a Genus of Plants Hiding in Plain Sight

September 4, 2018

Gene-sequence data is changing the way that botanists think about their classification schemes. A recent name-change for a common houseplant resulted from the discovery that it belonged in an overlooked genus.

Art for "The Universal Pattern Popping Up in Math, Physics and Biology"
In Theory

The Universal Pattern Popping Up in Math, Physics and Biology

August 23, 2018

Quanta’s In Theory video series returns with an exploration of a mysterious mathematical pattern found throughout nature.

Victoria Meadows in her garden with her cockatoo.
Thinking Places

Victoria Meadows’ Earthly Visions of Alien Life

June 5, 2018

A living, breathing garden in Seattle serves as the perfect backdrop to an astrobiologist’s search for life on faraway planets.

Plunge Into A (Virtual Reality) Black Hole
Multimedia

Plunge Into a (Virtual Reality) Black Hole

December 4, 2017

Join a fleet of robotic probes on a one-way virtual-reality trip into the abyss of a massive black hole.

Red slime mold
Multimedia

Seeing the Beautiful Intelligence of Microbes

November 13, 2017

Bacterial biofilms and slime molds are more than crude patches of goo. Detailed time-lapse microscopy reveals how they sense and explore their surroundings, communicate with their neighbors and adaptively reshape themselves.

Zoomable Universe - rectangular thumbnail
Multimedia

From the Edge of the Universe to the Inside of a Proton

November 6, 2017

The Zoomable Universe, a new book by the astrobiologist Caleb Scharf, the illustrator Ron Miller and 5W Infographics, tours the universe’s 62 orders of magnitude.

Thinking Places

Jason Morgan Recalls Discovering Earth’s Tectonic Plates

August 28, 2017

Jason Morgan developed the theory of plate tectonics in 1967 while working among a critical mass of talented geophysicists at Princeton University.

Janet Conrad
Thinking Places

Janet Conrad, Seeker of Neutrinos and Other Curiosities

August 21, 2017

The physicist and curios collector hopes to reveal the hidden structure lurking in the subatomic world.

Joe Polchinsky at the Kavli Institute
Thinking Places

Joe Polchinski’s Restless Pursuit of Quantum Gravity

August 7, 2017

The pot-stirring string theorist and quantum gravity theorist never sits still for long.