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mathematics

Photo of Carina Curto
Q&A

Her Key to Modeling Brains: Ignore the Right Details

Being able to think like a physicist helps Carina Curto, a mathematician-turned-neuroscientist, pull insights about the human brain out of theoretical models.

Illustration for "Four Is Not Enough"
Quantized Academy

Four Is Not Enough

How many colors do you need to color an infinite plane so that no points 1 unit apart are the same color?

Illustation for "The Slippery Math of Causation"
insights puzzle

The Slippery Math of Causation

If a forest is burning and we don’t know what’s responsible, does it have a cause?

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

A Classical Math Problem Gets Pulled Into the Modern World

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.

Illustration of a black hole with a Cauchy horizon
general relativity

Mathematicians Disprove Conjecture Made to Save Black Holes

Mathematicians have disproved the strong cosmic censorship conjecture. Their work answers one of the most important questions in the study of general relativity and changes the way we think about space-time.

Art for "Three Decades Later, Mystery Numbers Explained"
Abstractions blog

Three Decades Later, Mystery Numbers Explained

Zeta values seem to connect distant geometric worlds. In a new proof, mathematicians finally explain why.

Lede art for "First Big Steps Toward Proving the Unique Games Conjecture"
computational complexity

First Big Steps Toward Proving the Unique Games Conjecture

The latest in a new series of proofs brings theoretical computer scientists within striking distance of one of the great conjectures of their discipline.

Illustration of 826-vertex graph for "Decades-Old Graph Problem Yields to Amateur Mathematician"
graph theory

Decades-Old Graph Problem Yields to Amateur Mathematician

By making the first progress on the “chromatic number of the plane” problem in over 60 years, an anti-aging pundit has achieved mathematical immortality.

Photo of mathematician Donald Richards sitting in a Pennsylvania State University classroom.
Q&A

A Revealer of Secrets in the Data of Life and the Universe

The statistician Donald Richards lives to uncover subtle patterns hiding in real-world data.