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algebra

Art for "Why Mathematicians Can’t Find the Hay in a Haystack"
Abstractions blog

Why Mathematicians Can’t Find the Hay in a Haystack

In math, sometimes the most common things are the hardest to find.

Belt trick illustration
Abstractions blog

The Strange Numbers That Birthed Modern Algebra

The 19th-century discovery of numbers called “quaternions” gave mathematicians a way to describe rotations in space, forever changing physics and math.

Illustration of a complex shape casting a shadow
geometry

Tinkertoy Models Produce New Geometric Insights

An upstart field that simplifies complex shapes is letting mathematicians understand how those shapes depend on the space in which you visualize them.

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Quantized Academy

Symmetry, Algebra and the Monster

To begin to understand what mathematicians and physicists see in the abstract structures of symmetries, let’s start with a familiar shape.

Q&A

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.

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.

number theory

Mathematicians Chase Moonshine’s Shadow

Researchers are on the trail of a mysterious connection between number theory, algebra and string theory.