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mathematics

insights puzzle

Can Information Rise From Randomness?

Quanta’s new puzzle column asks you to believe the seemingly impossible — that you can win at a number guessing game with absolutely no information.

Multimedia

The Nine Schoolgirls Challenge

Solve this variation of Thomas Kirkman’s famous 1850 puzzle by arranging girls in walking groups. And think fast — the clock is ticking.

Mathematics

A Design Dilemma Solved, Minus Designs

A 150-year-old conundrum about how to group people has been solved, but many puzzles remain.

foundations of mathematics

Will Computers Redefine the Roots of Math?

The Fields medalist Vladimir Voevodsky has died at 51. This 2015 article describes his computer-aided quest to eliminate human error and rewrite the century-old rules underlying all of mathematics.

Mathematics

For Persi Diaconis’ Next Magic Trick …

A mathematician who has analyzed card shuffling for decades is tackling one final nemesis: “smooshing.”

Mathematics

A Grand Theory of Wrinkles

A collaboration between mechanical engineers and mathematicians has revealed universal rules for how wrinkles form.

Q&A

After Prime Proof, an Unlikely Star Rises

Two years ago, Yitang Zhang was virtually unknown. Now his surprise solution to a major problem in number theory has catapulted him to mathematical stardom. Where does he go from here?

number theory

Mathematicians Chase Moonshine’s Shadow

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

astrophysics

Strange Stars Pulse to the Golden Mean

Nature has revealed peculiar mathematical objects that connect order and chaos.