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mathematics

520px photo of Gil Kalai
The Future of Quantum Computing

The Argument Against Quantum Computers

The mathematician Gil Kalai believes that quantum computers can’t possibly work, even in principle.

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Quantized Academy

How Math (and Vaccines) Keep You Safe From the Flu

Simple math shows how widespread vaccination can disrupt the exponential spread of disease and prevent epidemics.

Illustration: man using rulers stacked on a compass as a telescope
insights puzzle

Solution: ‘Triangulation and Motion Sickness’

A method for estimating distances in sailing and astrophysics helps explain why riding on buses and boats can make us nauseous.

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Abstractions blog

What Makes the Hardest Equations in Physics So Difficult?

The Navier-Stokes equations describe simple, everyday phenomena, like water flowing from a garden hose, yet they provide a million-dollar mathematical challenge.

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Q&A

In Praise of Simple Problems

The mathematician Richard Schwartz finds the hidden depth lurking in simple mathematical puzzles.

Illustration: man using rulers stacked on a compass as a telescope
insights puzzle

How Triangulation Leads to Knowledge

What does measuring distances in sailing and astrophysics have to with motion sickness?

Simulation of Kelvin-Helmholz Instability
fluid dynamics

Mathematicians Find Wrinkle in Famed Fluid Equations

Two mathematicians prove that under certain extreme conditions, the Navier-Stokes equations output nonsense.

Photo of Corina Tarnita 520px
Q&A

A Mathematician Who Decodes the Patterns Stamped Out by Life

Corina Tarnita deciphers bizarre patterns in the soil created by competing life-forms.

Illustration of pentagon tiling
Quantized Academy

The (Math) Problem With Pentagons

Triangles fit effortlessly together, as do squares. When it comes to pentagons, what gives?