Quanta1 min read
Avi Wigderson, Complexity Theory Pioneer, Wins Turing Award
The prolific researcher found deep connections between randomness and computation and spent a career influencing cryptographers, complexity researchers and more. The post Avi Wigderson, Complexity Theory Pioneer, Wins Turing Award first ap
Quanta1 min readMathematics
Number of Distances Separating Points Has a New Bound
Mathematicians have struggled to prove Falconer’s Conjecture, a simple, but far-reaching, hypothesis about the distances between points. They’re finally getting close. The post Number of Distances Separating Points Has a New Bound first ap
Quanta1 min read
How the Ancient Art of Eclipse Prediction Became an Exact Science
The timing of the total eclipse on April 8, 2024, will be known to within a second, thousands of years after fearful humans first started trying to anticipate these cosmic events. The post How the Ancient Art of Eclipse Prediction Became a
Quanta1 min read
Overexposure Distorted the Science of Mirror Neurons
After a decade out of the spotlight, the brain cells once alleged to explain empathy, autism and theory of mind are being refined and redefined. The post Overexposure Distorted the Science of Mirror Neurons first appeared on Quanta Magazin
Quanta1 min readPolitical Ideologies
Topologists Tackle the Trouble With Poll Placement
Mathematicians are using topological abstractions to find places where it’s hard to vote. The post Topologists Tackle the Trouble With Poll Placement first appeared on Quanta Magazine
Quanta1 min read
Michel Talagrand Wins Abel Prize for Work Wrangling Randomness
The French mathematician spent decades developing a set of tools now widely used for taming random processes. The post Michel Talagrand Wins Abel Prize for Work Wrangling Randomness first appeared on Quanta Magazine
Quanta1 min read
Doubts Grow About the Biosignature Approach to Alien-Hunting
Recent controversies bode ill for the effort to detect life on other planets by analyzing the gases in their atmospheres. The post Doubts Grow About the Biosignature Approach to Alien-Hunting first appeared on Quanta Magazine
Quanta1 min read
Physicists Finally Find a Problem That Only Quantum Computers Can Do
Researchers have shown that a problem relating to the energy of a quantum system is easy for quantum computers but hard for classical ones. The post Physicists Finally Find a Problem That Only Quantum Computers Can Do first appeared on Qua
Quanta1 min read
Fresh X-Rays Reveal a Universe as Clumpy as Cosmology Predicts
By mapping the largest structures in the universe in X-rays, cosmologists have found striking agreement with their standard theoretical model of how the universe evolves. The post Fresh X-Rays Reveal a Universe as Clumpy as Cosmology Predi
Quanta1 min read
Mollusk Eyes Reveal How Future Evolution Depends on the Past
The visual systems of an obscure group of mollusks provide a rare natural example of path-dependent evolution, in which a critical fork in the creatures’ past determined their evolutionary futures. The post Mollusk Eyes Reveal How Future E
Quanta1 min readIntelligence (AI) & Semantics
How Selective Forgetting Can Help AI Learn Better
Erasing key information during training results in machine learning models that can learn new languages faster and more easily. The post How Selective Forgetting Can Help AI Learn Better first appeared on Quanta Magazine
Quanta1 min readMathematics
‘Entropy Bagels’ and Other Complex Structures Emerge From Simple Rules
Simple rules in simple settings continue to puzzle mathematicians, even as they devise intricate tools to analyze them. The post ‘Entropy Bagels’ and Other Complex Structures Emerge From Simple Rules first appeared on Quanta Magazine
Quanta1 min read
How Quickly Do Large Language Models Learn Unexpected Skills?
A new study suggests that so-called emergent abilities actually develop gradually and predictably, depending on how you measure them. The post How Quickly Do Large Language Models Learn Unexpected Skills? first appeared on Quanta Magazine
Quanta1 min read
Radio Maps May Reveal the Universe’s Biggest Magnetic Fields
A controversial technique has produced detailed maps of the magnetic fields in colossal galaxy clusters. If confirmed, the approach could be used to reveal where cosmic magnetic fields come from. The post Radio Maps May Reveal the Universe
Quanta1 min read
What Your Brain Is Doing When You’re Not Doing Anything
When your mind is wandering, your brain’s “default mode” network is active. Its discovery 20 years ago inspired a raft of research into networks of brain regions and how they interact with each other. The post What Your Brain Is Doing When
Quanta1 min readMathematics
How to Build an Origami Computer
Two mathematicians have shown that origami can, in principle, be used to perform any possible computation. The post How to Build an Origami Computer first appeared on Quanta Magazine
Quanta1 min readMathematics
Researchers Approach New Speed Limit for Seminal Problem
Integer linear programming can help find the answer to a variety of real-world problems. Now researchers have found a much faster way to do it. The post Researchers Approach New Speed Limit for Seminal Problem first appeared on Quanta Maga
Quanta1 min read
The Best Neighborhoods For Starting A Life In The Galaxy
Some neighborhoods in the Milky Way may be better suited for making habitable planets than others. The post The Best Neighborhoods for Starting a Life in the Galaxy first appeared on Quanta Magazine
Quanta1 min readMathematics
Math’s ‘Game of Life’ Reveals Long-Sought Repeating Patterns
John Conway’s Game of Life, a famous cellular automaton, has been found to have periodic patterns of every possible length. The post Math’s ‘Game of Life’ Reveals Long-Sought Repeating Patterns first appeared on Quanta Magazine
Quanta1 min read
How To Guarantee The Safety Of Autonomous Vehicles
As computer-driven cars and planes become more common, the key to preventing accidents, researchers show, is to know what you don’t know. The post How to Guarantee the Safety of Autonomous Vehicles first appeared on Quanta Magazine
Quanta1 min readChemistry
New Kind of Magnetism Spotted in an Engineered Material
In an atomically thin stack of semiconductors, a mechanism unseen in any natural substance causes electrons’ spins to align. The post New Kind of Magnetism Spotted in an Engineered Material first appeared on Quanta Magazine
Quanta1 min readChemistry
Cells Across the Body Talk to Each Other About Aging
Biologists discovered that mitochondria in different tissues talk to each other to repair injured cells. When their signal fails, the biological clock starts winding down. The post Cells Across the Body Talk to Each Other About Aging first
Quanta1 min read
New Clues for What Will Happen When the Sun Eats the Earth
Recent observations of an aging, alien planetary system are helping to answer the question: What will happen to our planet when the sun dies? The post New Clues for What Will Happen When the Sun Eats the Earth first appeared on Quanta Maga
Quanta1 min read
How This Marine Worm Can Tell Moonglow From Sunbeams
For the first time, scientists have decoded the molecular structure of a protein that helps to sync a biological clock to the phases of the moon. The post How This Marine Worm Can Tell Moonglow From Sunbeams first appeared on Quanta Magazi
Quanta1 min readSecurity
Celebrated Cryptography Algorithm Gets an Upgrade
Two researchers have improved a well-known technique for lattice basis reduction, opening up new avenues for practical experiments in cryptography and mathematics. The post Celebrated Cryptography Algorithm Gets an Upgrade first appeared o
Quanta1 min readMathematics
A Triplet Tree Forms One of the Most Beautiful Structures in Math
The Markov numbers reveal the secrets of irrational numbers and the patterns of the Fibonacci sequence. But there’s one question about them that has resisted proof for over a century. The post A Triplet Tree Forms One of the Most Beautiful
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The (Often) Overlooked Experiment That Revealed the Quantum World
A century ago, the Stern-Gerlach experiment established the truth of quantum mechanics. Now it’s being used to probe the clash of quantum theory and gravity. The post The (Often) Overlooked Experiment That Revealed the Quantum World first
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Evolving Bacteria Can Evade Barriers to ‘Peak’ Fitness
Paradoxically, natural selection can sometimes seem to block organisms from evolving useful adaptations. But a new study of “fitness landscapes” and antibiotic resistance in bacteria shows that life still finds a way. The post Evolving Bac
Quanta1 min read
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 post Researchers Refute a Widespread Belief About Online Algorithms first appeared on Quanta Magazine
Quanta1 min readMathematics
The Astonishing Behavior of Recursive Sequences
Some strange mathematical sequences are always whole numbers — until they’re not. The puzzling patterns have revealed ties to graph theory and prime numbers, awing mathematicians. The post The Astonishing Behavior of Recursive Sequences fi
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