Figalli explains how physical intuition can play a key role — but not the only role — in mathematical thinking.

Alessio Figalli: A Traveler Who Finds Stability in the Natural World

Figalli explains how physical intuition can play a key role — but not the only role — in mathematical thinking.


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The lauded astronomer Jim Gunn explains how a new spectrograph he is building will advance astronomy.

Scientist Interviews

Ecologist Jennifer Dunne on Humans’ Place in Food Webs

Jennifer Dunne of the Santa Fe Institute explains how reconstructions of food webs in past ecosystems help ecologists understand both the unusual niche of humans and new clues to a more sustainable civilization.

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In Theory

What Is Turbulence?

Physicists use the Navier-Stokes equations to describe fluid flows, taking into account viscosity, velocity, pressure and density. But because of turbulence in fluids, proving that the equations always make sense is one of the hardest problems in physics and mathematics.

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Carolina Araujo describes the effort to build a network of women mathematicians in Brazil.

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Google Brain’s Been Kim is building ways to let us interrogate the decisions made by machine learning systems.

In Theory

What Is Emergence?

How do extraordinarily complex emergent phenomena — like ants assembling themselves into living bridges, or tiny water and air molecules forming into swirling hurricanes — spontaneously arise from systems of much simpler elements? The answer often depends on a transition in the interplay between the elements that resembles a phase change.

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Meenakshi Wadhwa on Meteorites and the Solar System

Meenakshi Wadhwa explains how meteorites illuminate the origins of Earth and the rest of the solar system.