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Pencils Down: Experiments in Education

A Wormhole Between Physics and Education

The theoretical particle physicist Helen Quinn has blazed a singular path from the early days of the Standard Model to the latest overhaul of science education in the United States.

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Watching Evolution Happen in Two Lifetimes

The biologists Rosemary and Peter Grant have spent four decades on a tiny island in the Galápagos. Their discoveries reveal how new animal species can emerge in just a few generations.

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A Seeker of Dark Matter’s Hidden Light

The astrophysicist Tracy Slatyer is searching for faint wisps of dark matter annihilating in the early universe — and perhaps in hiding places closer to home.

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Moonshine Master Toys With String Theory

The physicist-mathematician Miranda Cheng is working to harness a mysterious connection between string theory, algebra and number theory.

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The Maestro of Memory Manipulation

The neuroscientist Sheena Josselyn can evoke and erase memories in mice using new tools that precisely control the brain.

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An Explorer of Quantum Borderlands

Suchitra Sebastian’s searches for quantum anomalies have led to the potential discovery of a new building block of matter.

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.

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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.

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The Evolutionary Argument Against Reality

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