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

Three Decades Later, Mystery Numbers Explained

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"

Mathematicians Explore Mirror Link Between Two Geometric Worlds

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

Jennifer Balakrishnan and Sachi Hashimoto, plotted using SageMath
Abstractions blog

Mathematicians Crack the Cursed Curve

A famously difficult mathematical problem resisted solution for over 40 years. Mathematicians have finally resolved it by following an intuition that links number theory to physics.

Minhyong Kim in front of a whiteboard
number theory

Secret Link Uncovered Between Pure Math and Physics

An eminent mathematician reveals that his advances in the study of millennia-old mathematical questions owe to concepts derived from physics.

Pariah moonshine
number theory

Mathematicians Find Moonshine Link for Pariah Symmetries

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

fidget spinners
Quantized Academy

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.

Helen Quinn and Roberto Peccei at Stanford University
Thinking Places

Roberto Peccei and Helen Quinn, Driving Around Stanford in a Clunky Jeep

The two physicists who introduced Peccei-Quinn symmetry came up with their idea on and around Stanford University’s campus 40 years ago.

Colorful illustration of 5 plants with their roots exposed. Each plant forms the shape of a number,
number theory

New Number Systems Seek Their Lost Primes

For centuries, mathematicians tried to solve problems by adding new values to the usual numbers. Now they’re investigating the unintended consequences of that tinkering.

Pencils Down: Experiments in Education

A Wormhole Between Physics and Education

The theoretical particle physicist Helen Quinn has blazed a singular path from the early days of the Standard Model to the latest overhaul of science education in the United States.