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520px photo of Richard Schwartz
Q&A

In Praise of Simple Problems

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

Photo of Corina Tarnita 520px
Q&A

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.
Q&A

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
Q&A

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.

Q&A

How to Build a Robot That Wants to Change the World

And not destroy humanity in the process.

Rebecca Goldin
Q&A

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
Q&A

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.

Jay Pasachoff
Q&A

Eclipse Hunter Reveals the Science That Can Only Be Done in the Dark

Even in the age of sun-observing satellites, astronomers like Jay Pasachoff still seek out total solar eclipses for the tales they can tell about our sun.

Andrea Ghez in Hawaii
Q&A

Black-Hole Hunter Takes Aim at Einstein

The astrophysicist Andrea Ghez spent two decades proving that a supermassive black hole anchors the center of the Milky Way galaxy. Her new plan? Test what happens when things get too close.