Archivo: Quanta

When a crystallographer treated prime numbers as a system of particles, the resulting diffraction pattern created a new view of existing conjectures in number theory.

Having the sense to take a shortcut, the most direct route from point A to point B, doesn’t sound like a very impressive test of intelligence. Yet according to a new report, in which researchers describe the performance of their new navigational artificial intelligence, the system’s ability to explore complex simulated environments and find the shortest route to a goal put it in a class previously reserved for humans and other living things.

New observations of extreme astrophysical systems have “brutally and pitilessly murdered” attempts to replace Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

The latest in a new series of proofs brings theoretical computer scientists within striking distance of one of the great conjectures of their discipline.

By making the first progress on the “chromatic number of the plane” problem in over 60 years, an anti-aging pundit has achieved mathematical immortality.

How the ultra-cooperative behavior of ants, bees and other social insects could have evolved continues to challenge formal analysis. But a new theory that includes hedging bets against nature’s unpredictability may help to change the math and shift the debate.

A technique based on genetic bar codes can easily map the connections of individual brain cells in unprecedented numbers. Unexpected complexity in the visual system is only the first secret it has revealed.

A recent experiment shows how quantum mechanics can make heat flow from a cold body to a hot one, an apparent (though not real) violation of the second law of thermodynamics.

Using a brain-computer interface, scientists are beginning to learn why learning is hard.

Gravitational waves have opened up new ways to test the properties of black holes — and Einstein’s theory of gravity along with them.