Princeton University The Astronomer Who’d Rather Build Space CamerasQuanta Magazine - Ann Finkbeiner Jim Gunn helped shape the theory of the evolution of the cosmos before building hardware for major observatories like the Hubble Space Telescope.

Lyon Logic Puzzle: The Joy of Recursion | Quanta MagazineQuanta Magazine - Pradeep Mutalik Solve a linguistic whodunit about a college mascot by thinking like a self-referencing computer subroutine. Recursion is one of the most fascinating, …

Soil Heat-Loving Microbes, Once Dormant, Thrive Over Decades-Old FireQuanta Magazine - Carrie Arnold In harsh ecosystems around the world, microbiologists are finding evidence that “microbial seed banks” protect biodiversity from changing …

Technology Viruses Have a Secret, Altruistic Social LifeQuanta Magazine - Viviane Callier Researchers are beginning to understand the ways in which viruses strategically manipulate and cooperate with one another. Social organisms come in …

Computer Science Mathematicians Discover the Perfect Way to Multiply | Quanta MagazineQuanta Magazine - Kevin Hartnett By chopping up large numbers into smaller ones, researchers have rewritten a fundamental mathematical speed limit. Four thousand years ago, the …

Genes Researchers Rethink the Ancestry of Complex CellsQuanta Magazine - Christie Wilcox New studies revise ideas about the symbiosis that gave mitochondria to cells and about whether the last common ancestor of all eukaryotes was one …

Exoplanets Sarah Hörst Creates Exoplanet Atmospheres In Her Lab | Quanta MagazineQuanta Magazine - Shannon Hall Astronomers will soon take their first glance at the atmosphere of a distant exoplanet. Sarah Hörst is writing the guidebook for these exoplanetary …

Science In Quantum Games, There’s No Way to Play the OddsQuanta Magazine - Kevin Hartnett These games combine quantum entanglement, infinity and impossible-to-calculate winning probabilities. But if researchers can crack them, they’ll …

Usain Bolt’s Split Times and the Power of CalculusQuanta Magazine - Steven Strogatz Just how fast can the fastest human run? This adapted book excerpt from Infinite Powers reveals how calculus helps us investigate the nature of …

Computer Science Cryptography That Can’t Be HackedQuanta Magazine - Kevin Hartnett Researchers have just released hacker-proof cryptographic code — programs with the same level of invincibility as a mathematical proof. Programmers …

Goals and Rewards Redraw the Brain’s Map of the WorldQuanta Magazine - Jordana Cepelewicz Two new studies show that the brain’s navigation system changes how it represents physical space to reflect personal experience. The iconic cover …

Mathematical Modeling Proof Finds That All Change Is a Mix of Order and RandomnessQuanta Magazine - Kevin Hartnett All descriptions of change are a unique blend of chance and determinism, according to the sweeping mathematical proof of the “weak Pinsker …

Science Sum-of-Three-Cubes Problem Solved for ‘Stubborn’ Number 33Quanta Magazine - John Pavlus A number theorist with programming prowess has found a solution to 33 = x³ + y³ + z³, a much-studied equation that went unsolved for 64 …

How the Brain Links Gestures, Perception and MeaningQuanta Magazine - Raleigh McElvery Neuroscience has found that gestures are not merely important as tools of expression but as guides of cognition and perception. Remember the last time …

Biologists Discover Unknown Powers in Mighty MitochondriaQuanta Magazine - Diana Kwon Mitochondria are most famous as sources of metabolic energy. But by splitting and combining, they can also release chemical signals to regulate cell …

Math Duo Maps the Infinite Terrain of Minimal SurfacesQuanta Magazine - Erica Klarreich A pair of mathematicians has built on an obscure, 30-year-old mathematical theory to show that soap-filmlike minimal surfaces appear abundantly in a …

Where Proof, Evidence and Imagination Intersect in Math | Quanta MagazineQuanta Magazine - Patrick Honner In mathematics, where proofs are everything, evidence is important too. But evidence is only as good as the model, and modeling can be dangerous …

The Math That Tells Cells What They Are | Quanta MagazineQuanta Magazine - Jordana Cepelewicz During development, cells seem to decode their fate through optimal information processing, which could hint at a more general principle of life. In …

Galaxy Simulations Offer a New Solution to the Fermi ParadoxQuanta Magazine - Rebecca Boyle Astronomers claim in a new paper that star motions should make it easy for civilizations to spread across the galaxy, but still we might find …

The Physics Still Hiding in the Higgs BosonQuanta Magazine - Natalie Wolchover No new particles have been found at the Large Hadron Collider since the Higgs boson in 2012, but physicists say there’s much we can still learn from …

Doudna’s Confidence in CRISPR’s Research Potential Burns BrightQuanta Magazine - Vanessa Schipani Jennifer Doudna, one of CRISPR’s primary innovators, stays optimistic about how the gene-editing tool will continue to empower basic biological …

Smarter Parts Make Collective Systems Too StubbornQuanta Magazine - Jordana Cepelewicz As researchers delve deeper into the behavior of decentralized collective systems, they’re beginning to question some of their initial …

Physics A World Without CloudsQuanta Magazine - Natalie Wolchover A state-of-the-art supercomputer simulation indicates that a feedback loop between global warming and cloud loss can push Earth’s climate past a …

How Our Universe Could Emerge as a HologramQuanta Magazine - Natalie Wolchover Physicists have devised a holographic model of “de Sitter space,” the term for a universe like ours, that could give us new clues about the origin of …

Möbius Strips Defy a Link With InfinityQuanta Magazine - Evelyn Lamb A new proof shows why an uncountably infinite number of Möbius strips will never fit into a three-dimensional space. In math, three-dimensional space …

New Squid Genome Shines Light on Symbiotic EvolutionQuanta Magazine - Laura Poppick Researchers hope that the genes of a glowing squid can illuminate how animals evolved organs for beneficial bacteria.

How to Find Simple Treasures in Complex NumbersQuanta Magazine - Pradeep Mutalik In spite of their name, “imaginary” numbers are as real as any other numbers, especially when it comes to hunting for lost treasure. For our first …

The Born Rule Has Been Derived From Simple Physical Principles | Quanta MagazineQuanta Magazine - Philip Ball The Born rule, which connects the math of quantum theory to the outcomes of experiments, has been derived from simpler physical principles. The new …

Smaller Is Better: Why Finite Number Systems Pack More Punch | Quanta MagazineQuanta Magazine - Kevin Hartnett Recent progress on the “sum product” problem recalls a celebrated mathematical result that revealed the power of miniature number systems. It’s one …