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Art for "Smaller Is Better: Why Finite Number Systems Pack More Punch"
Abstractions blog

Smaller Is Better: Why Finite Number Systems Pack More Punch

Recent progress on the “sum product” problem recalls a celebrated mathematical result that revealed the power of miniature number systems.

A row of skulls ending with homo sapiens, foreground, found at The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History’s Hall of Human Origins.
Abstractions blog

Artificial Intelligence Finds Ancient ‘Ghosts’ in Modern DNA

With the help of deep learning techniques, paleoanthropologists find evidence of long-lost branches on the human family tree.

Art for "How Nearby Stellar Explosions Could Have Killed Off Large Animals"
Abstractions blog

How Nearby Stellar Explosions Could Have Killed Off Large Animals

Subatomic particles called muons are thought to have streamed through the atmosphere and irradiated megafauna like the monster shark megalodon.

Illustration of lock with polynomials surrounding it
Abstractions blog

Mathematicians Seal Back Door to Breaking RSA Encryption

Digital security depends on the difficulty of factoring large numbers. A new proof shows why one method for breaking digital encryption won’t work.

Abstractions blog

Why Black Hole Interiors Grow (Almost) Forever

The renowned physicist Leonard Susskind has identified a possible quantum origin for the ever-growing volume of black holes.

Abstractions blog

What Defines a Stem Cell? Scientists Rethink the Answer

As it becomes clear that the body’s cells have more diverse regenerative capabilities than expected, experts have had to reconsider their approach to stem cell research.

abstractions blog

New Proof Shows Infinite Curves Come in Two Types

Alexander Smith’s work on the Goldfeld conjecture reveals fundamental characteristics of elliptic curves.

Photo of Stromatolites
Abstractions blog

World’s Oldest Fossils Now Appear to Be Squished Rocks

Evidence for life in 3.7-billion-year-old rocks appears to be crumbling away.

Art for "Three Biochemists Win Chemistry Nobel for Directing Evolution"
Abstractions blog

Three Biochemists Win Chemistry Nobel for Directing Evolution

By using the power of evolution to solve practical problems, three researchers opened new avenues to chemical discovery.