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mathematics

Photo of Urmila Mahadev
quantum computing

Graduate Student Solves Quantum Verification Problem

Urmila Mahadev spent eight years in graduate school solving one of the most basic questions in quantum computation: How do you know whether a quantum computer has done anything quantum at all?

Art for "Titans of Mathematics Clash Over Epic Proof of ABC Conjecture"
number theory

Titans of Mathematics Clash Over Epic Proof of ABC Conjecture

Two mathematicians have found what they say is a hole at the heart of a proof that has convulsed the mathematics community for nearly six years.

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.

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

Solution: ‘Evolutionary Math and Just-So Stories’

How much stock should we put in mathematical models of evolution that have not been validated by rigorous empirical data?

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.

Art for "The Universal Pattern Popping Up in Math, Physics and Biology"
Multimedia

The Universal Pattern Popping Up in Math, Physics and Biology

Quanta’s In Theory video series returns with an exploration of a mysterious mathematical pattern found throughout nature.

Art for "How Network Math Can Help You Make Friends"
Quantized Academy

How Network Math Can Help You Make Friends

Studying the structure of existing friendships in your community can help you forge the best connections when forming a new circle of friends.

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?