Archivo: Quanta

Water-bearing minerals reveal that Earth’s mantle could hold more water than all its oceans. Researchers now ask: Where did it all come from?

A controversial theory suggests that perception, motor control, memory and other brain functions all depend on comparisons between ongoing actual experiences and the brain’s modeled expectations.

Astronomers suspect that there’s a large planet hiding out in the distant fringes of the solar system. At a recent workshop, they brainstormed ways to coax it into view.

By squeezing fluids into flat sheets, researchers can get a handle on the strange ways that turbulence feeds energy into a system instead of eating it away.

The more closely geneticists look at complex traits and diseases, the harder it gets to find active genes that don’t influence them.

Lisa Manning, an associate professor of physics at Syracuse University, is widely admired for her success in using insights from physics to explain developmental biology. As she has shown, mathematical descriptions of glassy materials can predict the dynamics of cells in embryonic tissues.

Life needs more than water alone. Recent discoveries suggest that plate tectonics has played a critical role in nourishing life on Earth. The findings carry major consequences for the search for life elsewhere in the universe.

Scientists seek a single description of reality. But modern physics allows for many different descriptions, many equivalent to one another, connected through a vast landscape of mathematical possibility.

If a forest is burning and we don’t know what’s responsible, does it have a cause?

In an era when untestable ideas such as the multiverse hold sway, Michela Massimi defends science from those who think it hopelessly unmoored from physical reality.