What's up in

# explainers

## Latest Articles

### The ‘Useless’ Perspective That Transformed Mathematics

Representation theory was initially dismissed. Today, it’s central to much of mathematics.

### In a Single Measure, Invariants Capture the Essence of Math Objects

To distinguish between fundamentally different objects, mathematicians turn to invariants that encode the objects’ essential features.

### In Mathematics, It Often Takes a Good Map to Find Answers

Mathematicians try to figure out when problems can be solved using current knowledge — and when they have to chart a new path instead.

### What Other Coronaviruses Tell Us About SARS-CoV-2

As COVID-19 cases continue to increase, our extensive knowledge of other coronaviruses informs our understanding.

### Why Are Black Holes So Bright?

And why is the black hole at the center of our own galaxy so dim?

### The Animal Origins of Coronavirus and Flu

Zoonotic diseases like influenza and many coronaviruses start out in animals, but their biological machinery often enables them to jump to humans.

### How Pi Connects Colliding Blocks to a Quantum Search Algorithm

A curious physicist has discovered an unexpected link between theoretical block collisions and a famed quantum search algorithm.

### Why the Laws of Physics Are Inevitable

By considering simple symmetries, physicists working on the “bootstrap” can rediscover the basic form of the known forces that shape the universe.

### Quantum Supremacy Is Coming: Here’s What You Should Know

Researchers are getting close to building a quantum computer that can perform tasks a classical computer can’t. Here’s what the milestone will mean.