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Art for "Evolutionary Math and Just-So Stories"
insights puzzle

Evolutionary Math and Just-So Stories

Evolutionary stories like the grandmother hypothesis are easy to construct from mathematical models, but how well do they reflect reality?

Photo illustration of Akshay Venkatesh
2018 Fields Medal and Nevanlinna Prize Winners

A Number Theorist Who Bridges Math and Time

Akshay Venkatesh, a former prodigy who struggled with the genius stereotype, has won a Fields Medal for his “profound contributions to an exceptionally broad range of subjects in mathematics.”

Photo illustration of Constantinos Daskalakis
2018 Fields Medal and Nevanlinna Prize Winners

A Poet of Computation Who Uncovers Distant Truths

The theoretical computer scientist Constantinos Daskalakis has won the Rolf Nevanlinna Prize for explicating core questions in game theory and machine learning.

Photo of Dr. Peter Scholze
2018 Fields Medal and Nevanlinna Prize Winners

A Master of Numbers and Shapes Who Is Rewriting Arithmetic

The 30-year-old math sensation Peter Scholze is now one of the youngest Fields medalists for “the revolution that he launched in arithmetic geometry.”

Photo illustration of Caucher Birkar
2018 Fields Medal and Nevanlinna Prize Winners

An Innovator Who Brings Order to an Infinitude of Equations

The mathematician Caucher Birkar was born on a subsistence farm and raised in the middle of the brutal war between Iran and Iraq. After fleeing to England, he has gone on to impose order on a wild landscape of mathematical equations.

Photo illustration of Alessio Figalli
2018 Fields Medal and Nevanlinna Prize Winners

A Traveler Who Finds Stability in the Natural World

The mathematician Alessio Figalli is rarely in one place for very long. But his work has established the stability of everything from crystals to weather fronts by using concepts derived from Napoleonic fortifications.

Art for "Major Quantum Computing Advance Made Obsolete by Teenager"
quantum computing

Major Quantum Computing Advance Made Obsolete by Teenager

18-year-old Ewin Tang has proven that classical computers can solve the “recommendation problem” nearly as fast as quantum computers. The result eliminates one of the best examples of quantum speedup.

Illustation for "The Slippery Math of Causation"
insights puzzle

Solution: ‘The Slippery Math of Causation’

The all-too-intuitive picture of a straight arrow going from cause to effect is far too simplistic to describe the real world.

Photo of Jupiter for "Mathematicians Tame Turbulence in Flattened Fluids"
fluid dynamics

Mathematicians Tame Turbulence in Flattened Fluids

By squeezing fluids into flat sheets, researchers can get a handle on the strange ways that turbulence feeds energy into a system instead of eating it away.