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string theory

Art for "Three Decades Later, Mystery Numbers Explained"
Abstractions blog

Three Decades Later, Mystery Numbers Explained

May 3, 2018

Zeta values seem to connect distant geometric worlds. In a new proof, mathematicians finally explain why.

Illustration for "Mathematicians Explore Mirror Link Between Two Geometric Worlds"
geometry

Mathematicians Explore Mirror Link Between Two Geometric Worlds

April 9, 2018

Decades after physicists happened upon a stunning mathematical coincidence, researchers are getting close to understanding the link between two seemingly unrelated geometric universes.

520px photo of Joe Polchinski
Quantized Columns

Physicists Mourn Joe Polchinski, Developer of Deep Ideas and Paradoxes

February 20, 2018

The theoretical physicist Joe Polchinski, who died February 2, left a tremendous professional and personal legacy, says a friend and collaborator.

M theory and its six components
Abstractions blog

Why Is M-Theory the Leading Candidate for Theory of Everything?

December 18, 2017

The mother of all string theories passes a litmus test that, so far, no other candidate theory of quantum gravity has been able to match.

Edward Witten in his office at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.
Q&A

A Physicist’s Physicist Ponders the Nature of Reality

November 28, 2017

Edward Witten reflects on the meaning of dualities in physics and math, emergent space-time, and the pursuit of a complete description of nature.

Pariah moonshine
number theory

Mathematicians Find Moonshine Link for Pariah Symmetries

September 22, 2017

A type of symmetry so unusual that it was called a “pariah” turns out to have deep connections to number theory.

Emergent reductionism flower
Quantized Columns

To Solve the Biggest Mystery in Physics, Join Two Kinds of Law

September 7, 2017

Reductionism breaks the world into elementary building blocks. Emergence finds the simple laws that arise out of complexity. These two complementary ways of viewing the universe come together in modern theories of quantum gravity.

fidget spinners
Quantized Academy

Symmetry, Algebra and the Monster

August 17, 2017

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

Joe Polchinsky at the Kavli Institute
Thinking Places

Joe Polchinski’s Restless Pursuit of Quantum Gravity

August 7, 2017

The pot-stirring string theorist and quantum gravity theorist never sits still for long.