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water molecules, droplets and a wave
Abstractions blog

How Mathematical ‘Hocus-Pocus’ Saved Particle Physics

September 17, 2020

Renormalization has become perhaps the single most important advance in theoretical physics in 50 years.

Gif of a grid of arrows whose directions flip up and down.
Abstractions blog

The Cartoon Picture of Magnets That Has Transformed Science

June 24, 2020

One hundred years after it was proposed, the Ising model is used to understand everything from magnets to brains.


The Universal Law That Aims Time’s Arrow

August 1, 2019

A new look at a ubiquitous phenomenon has uncovered unexpected fractal behavior that could give us clues about the early universe and the arrow of time.

Art for "Bubble Experiment Finds Universal Laws"

Bubble Experiment Finds Universal Laws

July 31, 2019

Physicists have found examples of “universality” in a system of confined bubbles. The work could help researchers understand the strange behavior of singularities.

Art for "Universal Pattern Explains Why Materials Conduct"
mathematical physics

Universal Pattern Explains Why Materials Conduct

May 6, 2019

Mathematicians have found that materials conduct electricity when electrons follow a universal mathematical pattern.

Art for "The Universal Pattern Popping Up in Math, Physics and Biology"
In Theory

The Universal Pattern Popping Up in Math, Physics and Biology

August 23, 2018

Quanta’s In Theory video series returns with an exploration of a mysterious mathematical pattern found throughout nature.

animated gif of a fractal tunnel
theoretical physics

Physicists Uncover Geometric ‘Theory Space’

February 23, 2017

A decades-old method called the “bootstrap” is enabling new discoveries about the geometry underlying all quantum theories.


A Bird’s-Eye View of Nature’s Hidden Order

July 12, 2016

Scientists are exploring a mysterious pattern, found in birds’ eyes, boxes of marbles and other surprising places, that is neither regular nor random.

statistical physics

At the Far Ends of a New Universal Law

October 15, 2014

A potent theory has emerged explaining a mysterious statistical law that arises throughout physics and mathematics.