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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.