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The mathematician Ken Ono in his office at Emory University in Atlanta.
Q&A

A Life Inspired by an Unexpected Genius

Greatness was always expected of Ken Ono. But as he struggled with his parents’ expectations, he found solace and inspiration in the life of two-time college dropout — and mathematical genius — Srinivasa Ramanujan, the subject of the film The Man Who Knew Infinity.

Q&A

Janna Levin’s Theory of Doing Everything

The astrophysicist, conceptual writer and host of standing-room-only scientific soirees at a repurposed factory in Brooklyn sees science as a powerful force in culture.

Q&A

The Evolutionary Argument Against Reality

The cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman believes that evolution and quantum mechanics conspire to make objective reality an illusion.

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In Warm, Greasy Puddles, the Spark of Life?

The biologist David Deamer proposes that life evolved from a collection of interacting molecules, probably in a pool in the shadow of a volcano.

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Michael Atiyah’s Imaginative State of Mind

At 86, Britain’s preeminent mathematical matchmaker is still tackling the big questions and dreaming of a union between the quantum and the gravitational forces.

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Searching for the Algorithms Underlying Life

The biological world is computational at its core, argues computer scientist Leslie Valiant.

Q&A

Taming Superconductors With String Theory

The physicist Subir Sachdev borrows tools from string theory to understand the puzzling behavior of high-temperature superconductors.

Q&A

The Information Theory of Life

The polymath Christoph Adami is investigating life’s origins by reimagining life as self-perpetuating information strings.

Life’s Big Leaps: Critical Moments in Evolution

The Woman Who Stared at Wasps

The biologist Joan Strassmann discusses cooperation in social insects, how amoebas can teach us about competition, and why the definition of “organism” needs an overhaul.