Archives: Quanta

Mathematicians regard the Collatz conjecture as a quagmire and warn each other to stay away. But now Terence Tao has made more progress than anyone in decades.

By considering simple symmetries, physicists working on the “bootstrap” have rederived the four known forces. “There’s just no freedom in the laws of physics,” said one.

New studies help to explain how microbes in the gut can shape a host’s fear responses.

New research makes a molecular connection between the brain and aging — and shows that overactive neurons can shorten life span.

Physicists have long searched for hypothesized dark matter particles called WIMPs. Now, focus may be shifting to the axion — an ultra-lightweight particle whose existence would solve two mysteries at once.

A surprisingly youthful estimate of the age of the rings has stirred a backlash. At stake is our best clue for understanding where the rings came from in the first place.

After millions of games, machine learning algorithms found creative solutions and unexpected new strategies that could transfer to the real world.

By reimagining the kinks and folds of origami as atoms in a lattice, researchers are uncovering strange behavior hiding in simple structures.

Three physicists wanted to calculate how neutrinos change. They ended up discovering an unexpected relationship between some of the most ubiquitous objects in math.

Activity in the visual cortex and other sensory areas is dominated by signals about body movements, down to little tics and twitches. Scientists are now rethinking how they study and conceive of perception.