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Computer Science

A New Design for Cryptography’s Black Box

A recent cryptographic breakthrough has proven difficult to put into practice. But new advances show how near-perfect computer security might be surprisingly close at hand.

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profile

A Life in Games

The mathematician John Horton Conway’s myriad accomplishments — including the Game of Life, sprouts and the surreal numbers — are the product of a mind at play.

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Biology

How Mutant Viral Swarms Spread Disease

A new understanding of viral swarms is helping researchers predict how viruses will evolve and where disease is likely to spread.

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Biology

A Surprise Source of Life’s Code

Emerging data suggests the seemingly impossible — that mysterious new genes arise from “junk” DNA.

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geophysics

How Life and Luck Changed Earth’s Minerals

Did the minerals on our planet arise in a predictable fashion, or did they result from chance events? The answers could eventually help scientists identify planets likely to harbor life.

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Biology

At Tiny Scales, a Giant Burst on Tree of Life

A new technique for finding and characterizing microbes has boosted the number of known bacteria by almost 50 percent, revealing a hidden world all around us.

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complex systems

The New Laws of Explosive Networks

Researchers are uncovering the hidden laws that reveal how the Internet grows, how viruses spread, and how financial bubbles burst.

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Biology

New Letters Added to the Genetic Alphabet

Scientists hope that new genetic letters, created in the lab, will endow DNA with new powers.