Time’s (Almost) Reversible Arrow
The laws of physics work both forward and backward in time. So why does time seem to move in only one direction? One potential answer may also reveal the secrets of the universe’s missing mass.
A Fight for the Soul of Science
String theory, the multiverse and other ideas of modern physics are potentially untestable. At a historic meeting in Munich, scientists and philosophers asked: should we trust them anyway?
Hope Rekindled for Perplexing Proof
Three years ago, a solitary mathematician released an impenetrable proof of the famous abc conjecture. At a recent conference dedicated to the work, optimism mixed with bafflement.
Math Quartet Joins Forces on Unified Theory
A new breakthrough that bridges number theory and geometry is just the latest triumph for a close-knit group of mathematicians.
Big Data’s Mathematical Mysteries
Machine learning works spectacularly well, but mathematicians aren’t quite sure why.
The Incredible Shrinking Sex Chromosome
Nature offers a panoply of ways to determine an organism’s sex. How can such a fundamental property be so variable?
‘Outsiders’ Crack 50-Year-Old Math Problem
Three computer scientists have solved a problem central to a dozen far-flung mathematical fields.
The Information Theory of Life
The polymath Christoph Adami is investigating life’s origins by reimagining living things as self-perpetuating information strings.
How Humans Evolved Supersize Brains
Scientists have begun to identify the symphony of biological triggers that powered the extraordinary expansion of the human brain.
Life’s Secrets Sought in a Snowflake
A single genetic change and some clever geometry show how single-celled organisms can band together to form cooperative multicellular entities.