Archives: Quanta

Here is a map of mathematics as it stands today, mathematics as it is practiced by mathematicians.

For decades, scientists have been intrigued by tiny viruses whose genetic material can be read both forward and backward. New research begins to explain this puzzling property.

Mathematicians have studied knots for centuries, but a new material is showing why some knots are better than others.


Rogue waves — enigmatic giants of the sea — were thought to be caused by two different mechanisms. But a new idea that borrows from the hinterlands of probability theory has the potential to predict them all.


By teaching machines to understand our true desires, one scientist hopes to avoid the potentially disastrous consequences of having them do what we command.

A photograph of the infant cosmos reveals the precise amounts of dark matter and dark energy in the universe, leaving precious little room for argument.

Collaborations in progress between ethicists and biologists seek to head off challenges raised by lab-grown “organoids” as they become increasingly similar to human brain tissue.

A curious physicist has discovered an unexpected link between theoretical block collisions and a famed quantum search algorithm.

Arctic ice is disappearing — the question is how fast. Summer sea ice could endure 100 more years, or it could vanish later this decade, with disastrous consequences for the rest of the planet. To nail down the answer, an expedition to the top of the world has to untangle the knotty physics of ice.

The dendritic arms of some human neurons can perform logic operations that once seemed to require whole neural networks.