Archivo: Quanta

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.

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?

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.

A new breakthrough that bridges number theory and geometry is just the latest triumph for a close-knit group of mathematicians.

Machine learning works spectacularly well, but mathematicians aren’t quite sure why.

Nature offers a panoply of ways to determine an organism’s sex. How can such a fundamental property be so variable?

Three computer scientists have solved a problem central to a dozen far-flung mathematical fields.

The polymath Christoph Adami is investigating life’s origins by reimagining living things as self-perpetuating information strings.

Scientists have begun to identify the symphony of biological triggers that powered the extraordinary expansion of the human brain.

A single genetic change and some clever geometry show how single-celled organisms can band together to form cooperative multicellular entities.