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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.

Nelson, wearing hiking gear, smiles at the camera at the top of a rocky outcrop.
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Ann Nelson Took On the Biggest Problems in Physics

August 22, 2019

The theoretical particle physicist Ann Nelson, who died on August 4 at age 61, was a font of brilliant ideas and a champion of ending discrimination in the field.

Art for "Color Me Polynomial"
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Color Me Polynomial

August 13, 2019

Polynomials aren’t just exercises in abstraction. They’re good at illuminating structure in surprising places.

Illustration of Fermat's Last Theorem
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Why the Proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem Doesn’t Need to Be Enhanced

June 3, 2019

Decades after the landmark proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem, ideas abound for how to make it even more reliable. But such efforts reflect a deep misunderstanding of what makes the proof so important.

Art for "How Geometry, Data and Neighbors Predict Your Favorite Movies"
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How Geometry, Data and Neighbors Predict Your Favorite Movies

May 22, 2019

A little high school geometry can help you understand the basic math behind movie recommendation engines.

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The Subtle Art of the Mathematical Conjecture

May 7, 2019

It’s an educated guess, not a proof. But a good conjecture will guide math forward, pointing the way into the mathematical unknown.

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What the Sight of a Black Hole Means to a Black Hole Physicist

April 10, 2019

The astrophysicist Janna Levin reflects on the newly unveiled, first-ever photograph of a black hole.

Art for "Usain Bolt’s Split Times and the Power of Calculus"
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Usain Bolt’s Split Times and the Power of Calculus

April 3, 2019

Just how fast can the fastest human run? This adapted book excerpt from Infinite Powers reveals how calculus helps us investigate the nature of motion and change.