Archives: Quanta

A new origins-based system for classifying minerals reveals the huge geochemical imprint that life has left on Earth. It could help us identify other worlds with life too.

Decades after a Tanzanian teenager initiated study of the “Mpemba effect,” the effort to confirm or refute it is leading physicists toward new theories about how substances relax to equilibrium.

Quantum computers may derive their power from the “magical” way that properties of particles change depending on the context.

For decades mathematicians have searched for a specific pair of surfaces that can’t be transformed into each other in four-dimensional space. Now they’ve found them.

Neuroscientists uncovered an energy-saving mode in vision-system neurons that works at the cost of being able to see fine-grained details.

Observations of faraway planets have forced a near-total rewrite of the story of how our solar system came to be.

Some animal neuropeptides have been around longer than nervous systems.

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Four puzzle solutions reveal different ways to divine someone’s hidden number with impossibly little information.

The second law of thermodynamics is among the most sacred in all of science, but it has always rested on 19th century arguments about probability. New arguments trace its true source to the flows of quantum information.

The famed Navier-Stokes equations can lead to cases where more than one result is possible, but only in an extremely narrow set of situations.

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