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applied math

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The Map of Mathematics

February 13, 2020

Explore our surprisingly simple, absurdly ambitious and necessarily incomplete guide to the boundless mathematical universe.

A rogue wave and a sailboat.
fluid dynamics

The Grand Unified Theory of Rogue Waves

February 5, 2020

Rogue waves — enigmatic giants of the sea — were thought to be caused by two different mechanisms. But a new idea that borrows from the hinterlands of probability theory has the potential to predict them all.

Art for "A Math Theory for Why People Hallucinate"
neuroscience

A Math Theory for Why People Hallucinate

July 30, 2018

Psychedelic drugs can trigger characteristic hallucinations, which have long been thought to hold clues about the brain’s circuitry. After nearly a century of study, a possible explanation is crystallizing.

Art for "A Classical Math Problem Gets Pulled Into the Modern World"
algorithms

A Classical Math Problem Gets Pulled Into the Modern World

May 23, 2018

A century ago, the great mathematician David Hilbert posed a probing question in pure mathematics. A recent advance in optimization theory is bringing Hilbert’s work into a world of self-driving cars.

Gerrymandering illustration by Scott Martin for Quanta Magazine
Quantized Academy

The Math Behind Gerrymandering and Wasted Votes

October 12, 2017

Simple math can help scheming politicians manipulate district maps and cruise to victory. But it can also help identify and fix the problem.

Lucy Reading-Ikkanda/Quanta Magazine
Abstractions blog

The Math That Promises to Make the World Brighter

September 6, 2017

The color of LED lights is controlled by a clumsy process. A new mathematical discovery may make it easier for us to get the hues we want.

Svitlana Mayboroda
mathematical physics

Mathematicians Tame Rogue Waves, Lighting Up Future of LEDs

August 22, 2017

The mathematician Svitlana Mayboroda and collaborators have figured out how to predict the behavior of electrons — a mathematical discovery that could have immediate practical effects.

Illustration of a salamander
applied math

How to Quantify (and Fight) Gerrymandering

April 4, 2017

Powerful new quantitative tools are now available to combat partisan bias in the drawing of voting districts.

Quantized Columns

Using Mathematics to Repair a Masterpiece

September 29, 2016

The author shows how new mathematical techniques can be used to revitalize a 650-year-old work of art.