Archives: Quanta

A problem confronts cosmology: Two independent measurements of the universe’s expansion give incompatible answers. Now a third method, advanced by an astronomy pioneer, appears to bridge the divide.

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Faced with a decision, the brain weighs its options by bundling them into rapidly alternating cycles of brain waves.

A recent neutron star merger has defied astronomers’ expectations, leading them to question longstanding ideas about neutron stars and the supernovas that create them. “We have to go back to the drawing board.”

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By watching for a special kind of flare, astronomers have identified the fingerprints of an Earth-size planet orbiting a distant star.

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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.

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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.

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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.