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Photo of radio telescopes at the Allen Telescope Array with a starry sky featuring the Milky Way in the background.
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How Radio Astronomy Reveals the Universe

April 13, 2021

Radio waves, longer and less energetic than visible light, give astronomers access to some of the most obscure physics in the cosmos.

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The Mysterious Math of Perfection

March 15, 2021

Enter the world of perfect numbers and explore the mystery mathematicians have spent thousands of years trying to solve.

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Isadore Singer Transcended Mathematical Boundaries

March 4, 2021

A former graduate student reflects on how Isadore Singer, who died on February 11, brought together mathematicians, physicists and anyone else interested in the deeper connections between diverse fields.

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How to Understand COVID-19 Variants and Their Effects on Vaccines

February 25, 2021

Researchers are tracking the different strains of SARS-CoV-2 and studying how they spread through our population and our bodies.

Illustration showing a human figure sitting on a large straw, gazing at different topological figures.
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Topology 101: The Hole Truth

January 26, 2021

The relationships among the properties of flexible shapes have fascinated mathematicians for centuries.

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The Crooked Geometry of Round Trips

January 13, 2021

Imagine if we lived on a cube-shaped Earth. How would you find the shortest path around the world?

Black and white photo of Claude Shannon in front of a computer
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How Claude Shannon Invented the Future

December 22, 2020

Today’s information age is only possible thanks to the groundbreaking work of a lone genius.

Illustration showing orange building blocks outside a doorway that opens onto blue towers made up of similar building blocks.
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Contemplating the End of Physics

November 24, 2020

Has physics reached the limits of what we can discover — or are the possibilities only just beginning?

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Some Math Problems Seem Impossible. That Can Be a Good Thing.

November 18, 2020

Struggling with math problems that can’t be solved helps us better understand the ones we can.


A regular column in which top researchers explore the process of discovery.