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520px photo of Jarvis holding a zebra finch

In Birds’ Songs, Brains and Genes, He Finds Clues to Speech

The neuroscientist Erich Jarvis found that songbirds’ vocal skills and humans’ spoken language are both rooted in neural pathways for controlling learned movements.

520px image of Ed Boyden

A Neurobiologist Thinks Big — and Small

By developing new tools for visualizing subcellular structure and activity in molecular detail, Ed Boyden advances on his goal of understanding how the brain works.

520px photo of Richard Schwartz

In Praise of Simple Problems

The mathematician Richard Schwartz finds the hidden depth lurking in simple mathematical puzzles.

Photo of Corina Tarnita 520px

A Mathematician Who Decodes the Patterns Stamped Out by Life

Corina Tarnita deciphers bizarre patterns in the soil created by competing life-forms.

Edward Witten in his office at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.

A Physicist’s Physicist Ponders the Nature of Reality

Edward Witten reflects on the meaning of dualities in physics and math, emergent space-time, and the pursuit of a complete description of nature.

Federico Ardila

A Mathematician Who Dances to the Joys and Sorrows of Discovery

Federico Ardila opens up about his journey as a mathematician, teacher, Colombian transplant, DJ and creator of mathematical spaces.

Rebecca Goldin

Why Math Is the Best Way to Make Sense of the World

To tell truth from fiction, start with quantitative thinking, argues the mathematician Rebecca Goldin.

Neil Johnson

A Physicist Who Models ISIS and the Alt-Right

The rise of new extremist groups has served as both an impetus and test-case for Neil Johnson’s models of terrorism and insurgency.