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Illustration of a connection between a bat and a human, with a backdrop of coronaviruses.
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The Animal Origins of Coronavirus and Flu

February 25, 2020

Zoonotic diseases like influenza and many coronaviruses start out in animals, but their biological machinery often enables them to jump to humans.

Illustration of interstellar objects entering our solar system
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The Age of Interstellar Visitors

January 29, 2020

As astronomers get better at finding the comets and asteroids of other stars, they’ll learn more about the universe and our place in it.

Steven Strogatz listens to a podcast guest speak about many scientific and mathematical subjects.
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Why I’m Hosting The Joy of x Podcast

January 15, 2020

The noted mathematician and author Steven Strogatz explains why he wanted to share intimate conversations with leading researchers from diverse fields in his new podcast.

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How Simple Math Can Cover Even the Most Complex Holes

January 8, 2020

No one knows how to find the smallest shape that can cover all other shapes of a certain width. But high school geometry is getting us closer to an answer.

Illustration of pathogens, vaccines, and other necessary factors for eradicating a disease.
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How to Permanently End Diseases

December 3, 2019

Smallpox was eradicated relatively quickly, but other diseases have proved harder to eliminate. The reasons are a mix of biology and psychology.

An illustration of a mathematician staring up at an infinite pile of cubes of varying sizes and colors.
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Why the Sum of Three Cubes Is a Hard Math Problem

November 5, 2019

Looking for answers in infinite space is hard. High school math can help narrow your search.

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Why I Called It ‘Quantum Supremacy’

October 2, 2019

Researchers finally seem to have a quantum computer that can outperform a classical computer. But what does that really mean?

Two competitors are racing to solve the multiplication problem 25 times 63 in two separate lanes of a running track. One competitor is using the standard multiplication algorithm while the other is using Karatsuba method.
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On Your Mark, Get Set, Multiply

September 23, 2019

The way you learned to multiply works, but computers employ a faster algorithm.

An illustration of a pink hand reaching for quantum dice.
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Where Quantum Probability Comes From

September 9, 2019

There are many different ways to think about probability. Quantum mechanics embodies them all.

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