## Evolving Bacteria Can Evade Barriers to ‘Peak’ Fitness | Quanta Magazine

Paradoxically, natural selection can sometimes seem to block organisms from evolving useful adaptations. But a new...

## Pierre de Fermat’s Link to a High School Student’s Prime Math Proof | Quanta Magazine

How Fermat’s less famous "little theorem" got mathematicians young and old to play with prime-like Carmichael...

## In the Gut’s ‘Second Brain,’ Key Agents of Health Emerge | Quanta Magazine

Sitting alongside the neurons in your enteric nervous system are underappreciated glial cells, which play key...

## Researchers Refute a Widespread Belief About Online Algorithms

Three computer scientists have disproved a long-standing conjecture about a fundamental problem involving imperfect information. The...

## The Astonishing Behavior of Recursive Sequences

Some strange mathematical sequences are always whole numbers — until they’re not. The puzzling patterns have...

## Google DeepMind Trains ‘Artificial Brainstorming’ in Chess AI | Quanta Magazine

By bringing together disparate approaches, machines can reach a new level of creative problem-solving. The post...

## Rogue Worlds Throw Planetary Ideas Out of Orbit

Scientists have recently discovered scores of free-floating worlds that defy classification. The new observations have forced...

## Why the Human Brain Perceives Small Numbers Better

The discovery that the brain has different systems for representing small and large numbers provokes new...

## The Scientist Who Decodes the Songs of Undersea Volcanoes

In the rumbles and groans of underwater volcanoes, Jackie Caplan-Auerbach finds her favorite harmonies — and...

## Cryptographers Devise an Approach for Total Search Privacy | Quanta Magazine

Three researchers have found a long-sought way to pull information from large databases secretly, moving us...

## These Moons Are Dark and Frozen. So How Can They Have Oceans?

The moons orbiting Jupiter and Saturn appear to have subsurface oceans — tantalizing targets in the...

## The Hidden Connection That Changed Number Theory

Quadratic reciprocity lurks around many corners in mathematics. By proving it, number theorists reimagined their whole...

## A Brief History of Tricky Mathematical Tiling | Quanta Magazine

The discovery earlier this year of the “hat” tile marked the culmination of hundreds of years...

## A New Generation of Mathematicians Pushes Prime Number Barriers

New work attacks a long-standing barrier to understanding how prime numbers are distributed. The post A...

## Biophysicists Uncover Powerful Symmetries in Living Tissue | Quanta Magazine

After identifying interlocking symmetries in mammalian cells, scientists can describe some tissues as liquid crystals —...

## The Computing Pioneer Helping AI See

Alexei Efros has spent his career learning how machines see differently from humans. Now he’s helping...

## The Quest to Quantify Quantumness | Quanta Magazine

What makes a quantum computer more powerful than a classical computer? It’s a surprisingly subtle question...

## These Cells Spark Electricity in the Brain. They’re Not Neurons.

For decades, researchers have debated whether brain cells called astrocytes can signal like neurons. Researchers recently...

## Thirty Years Later, a Speed Boost for Quantum Factoring | Quanta Magazine

Shor’s algorithm will enable future quantum computers to factor large numbers quickly, undermining many online security...

## The Mathematician Who Shaped String Theory | Quanta Magazine

Eugenio Calabi, who died on September 25, conceived of novel geometric objects that later became fundamental...

## The Deep Link Equating Math Proofs and Computer Programs | Quanta Magazine

Mathematical logic and the code of computer programs are, in an exact way, mirror images of...

## Invisible Electron ‘Demon’ Discovered in Odd Superconductor | Quanta Magazine

Physicists have long suspected that hunks of metal could vibrate in a peculiar way that would...

## Tiny Language Models Thrive With GPT-4 as a Teacher | Quanta Magazine

To better understand how neural networks learn to simulate writing, researchers trained simpler versions on synthetic...

## Physicists Who Explored Tiny Glimpses of Time Win Nobel Prize | Quanta Magazine

The development of attosecond pulses of light allowed researchers to explore the frame-by-frame movement of electrons....

## How Simple Math Moves the Needle | Quanta Magazine

The spatial intuition behind a three-point turn offers an on-ramp to a century-old geometry problem. The...

## Mathematicians Cross the Line to Get to the Point | Quanta Magazine

A new paper establishes a long-conjectured bound about the size of the overlap between sets of...

## The Experimental Cosmologist Hunting for the First Sunrise | Quanta Magazine

To catch even a whiff of the universe’s earliest epochs — an age of darkness, and...

## What Makes Life Tick? Mitochondria May Keep Time for Cells | Quanta Magazine

Every species develops at its own unique tempo, leaving scientists to wonder what governs their timing....

## ‘Species Repulsion’ Enables High Biodiversity in Tropical Trees | Quanta Magazine

Because tree seedlings don’t grow as well when close to their parents, more tree species can...

## A Tower of Conjectures That Rests Upon a Needle

On its surface, the Kakeya conjecture is a simple statement about rotating needles. But it underlies...

## The Biggest Smallest Triangle Just Got Smaller | Quanta Magazine

A new proof breaks a decades-long drought of progress on the problem of estimating the size...

## Magnetism May Have Given Life Its Molecular Asymmetry

The preferred “handedness” of biomolecules could have emerged from biased interactions between electrons and magnetic surfaces,...

## Alan Turing and the Power of Negative Thinking

Mathematical proofs based on a technique called diagonalization can be relentlessly contrarian, but they help reveal...

## Why Mathematical Proof Is a Social Compact | Quanta Magazine

Number theorist Andrew Granville on what mathematics really is — and why objectivity is never quite...

## The Hidden Brain Connections Between Our Hands and Tongues | Quanta Magazine

Sticking out your tongue while doing delicate work with your hands reveals a history of evolutionary...

## New Codes Could Make Quantum Computing 10 Times More Efficient | Quanta Magazine

Quantum computing is still really, really hard. But the rise of a powerful class of error-correcting...

## What a Contest of Consciousness Theories Really Proved | Quanta Magazine

A five-year “adversarial collaboration” of consciousness theorists led to a stagy showdown in front of an...

## An Old Conjecture Falls, Making Spheres a Lot More Complicated | Quanta Magazine

The telescope conjecture gave mathematicians a handle on ways to map one sphere to another. Now...

## Quaking Giants Might Solve the Mysteries of Stellar Magnetism

In their jiggles and shakes, red giant stars encode a record of the magnetic fields near...

## Andreas Wagner Pursues the Secrets to Evolutionary Success

Why did mammals, grasses and some other groups of organisms explode in diversity only after millions...

## Risky Giant Steps Can Solve Optimization Problems Faster | Quanta Magazine

New results break with decades of conventional wisdom for the gradient descent algorithm. The post Risky...

## Two Students Unravel a Widely Believed Math Conjecture | Quanta Magazine

Mathematicians thought they were on the cusp of proving a conjecture about the ancient structures known...

## Even Synthetic Life Forms With a Tiny Genome Can Evolve | Quanta Magazine

By watching “minimal” cells regain the fitness they lost, researchers are testing whether a genome can...

## Exoplanets Could Help Us Learn How Planets Make Magnetism | Quanta Magazine

New observations of a faraway rocky world that might have its own magnetic field could help...