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Physics

String Theory Meets Loop Quantum Gravity

Two leading candidates for a “theory of everything,” long thought to be incompatible, may be two sides of the same coin.

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Computer Science

Landmark Algorithm Breaks 30-Year Impasse

Computer scientists are abuzz over a fast new algorithm for solving one of the central problems in the field.

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Mathematics

Math Quartet Joins Forces on Unified Theory

A new breakthrough that bridges number theory and geometry is just the latest triumph for a close-knit group of mathematicians.

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Biology

The Incredible Shrinking Sex Chromosome

Nature offers species a panoply of ways to determine an organism’s sex. That flexibility suggests we need not be concerned about losing sex chromosomes, but it raises the question of why such a fundamental property is so variable.

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complex systems

Nature’s Critical Warning System

Scientists are homing in on a warning signal that arises in complex systems like ecological food webs, the brain and the Earth’s climate. Could it help prevent future catastrophes?

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Life’s Big Leaps: Critical Moments in Evolution

How Humans Evolved Supersize Brains

Scientists have begun to identify the symphony of biological triggers that powered the extraordinary expansion of the human brain.

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Life’s Big Leaps: Critical Moments in Evolution

Mongrel Microbe Tests Story of Complex Life

A newly discovered class of microbe could help to resolve one of the biggest and most controversial mysteries in evolution — how simple microbes transformed into the complex cells that produced animals, plants and fungi.

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Mathematics

Theorists Draw Closer to Perfect Coloring

A theorem for coloring a large class of “perfect” mathematical networks could ease the way for a long-sought general coloring proof.

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ecology

A Twisted Path to Equation-Free Prediction

Complex natural systems defy analysis using a standard mathematical toolkit, so one ecologist is throwing out the equations.