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The (Imaginary) Numbers at the Edge of Reality

Odd enough to potentially model the strangeness of the physical world, complex numbers with “imaginary” components are rooted in the familiar.

Art for "How Network Math Can Help You Make Friends"
Quantized Academy

How Network Math Can Help You Make Friends

Studying the structure of existing friendships in your community can help you forge the best connections when forming a new circle of friends.

Illustration for "Four Is Not Enough"
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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?

Illustration for Rock Paper Scissors
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Why Winning in Rock-Paper-Scissors (and in Life) Isn’t Everything

What does John Nash’s game theory equilibrium concept look like in Rock-Paper-Scissors?

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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 of pentagon tiling
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The (Math) Problem With Pentagons

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

Gerrymandering illustration by Scott Martin for Quanta Magazine
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The Math Behind Gerrymandering and Wasted Votes

Simple math can help scheming politicians manipulate district maps and cruise to victory. But it can also help identify and fix the problem.

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Symmetry, Algebra and the Monster

To begin to understand what mathematicians and physicists see in the abstract structures of symmetries, let’s start with a familiar shape.