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Abstractions blog

The Almost-Proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem

19th-century mathematicians thought the “roots of unity” were the key to solving Fermat’s Last Theorem. Then they discovered a fatal flaw.

Abstractions blog

How Circadian Clocks Differ From Sleep

The circadian clock is in nearly every cell, and researchers have untangled many of its secrets. But sleep has been harder to pin down.

Mobius strip illustration
Abstractions blog

The Hidden Twist to Making a Möbius Strip

The simple Möbius strip illustrates a deep mathematical challenge that has long tormented the field of symplectic geometry.

Photo of raindrops on a window by Philip Kraaijenbrink
Abstractions blog

Droplets That ‘Come to Life’

Life might have originated in droplets that behave surprisingly like living cells.

Illustration: boxing gloves
Abstractions blog

Graph Isomorphism Vanquished — Again

Just five days after posting a retraction, László Babai announced that he had fixed the error in his landmark graph isomorphism algorithm.

Hyperbolic Crochet
Abstractions blog

How Curvature Makes a Shape a Shape

The ancient study of an object’s curvature is guiding mathematicians toward a new understanding of simple equations.

Illustration: boxing glove & graph
Abstractions blog

Complexity Theory Problem Strikes Back

The legendary graph isomorphism problem may be harder than a 2015 result seemed to suggest.

Julia Set Contest
Abstractions blog

Test Your Mathematical Sculpting Skills

Can you turn a two-dimensional fractal into a 3-D object? Break out your scissors and tape for a chance to win a 3-D printed sculpture.