Archivo: Quanta

Equations, like numbers, cannot always be split into simpler elements. Researchers have now proved that such “prime” equations become ubiquitous as equations grow larger.

A thought experiment has shaken up the world of quantum foundations, forcing physicists to clarify how various quantum interpretations (such as many-worlds and the Copenhagen interpretation) abandon seemingly sensible assumptions about reality.

Simple physical principles can be used to describe how rivers grow everywhere from Florida to Mars.

With proteins that reversibly self-assemble into droplets, cells may control their metabolism — and harden themselves against harsh conditions.

Quasars powered by supermassive black holes have been unexpectedly vanishing. Scientists have started to figure out why.

Experiments suggest that exotic superconducting materials share a “strange metal” state characterized by a quantum speed limit that somehow acts as a fundamental organizing principle.

In the latest campaign to reconcile Einstein’s theory of gravity with quantum mechanics, many physicists are studying how a higher dimensional space that includes gravity arises like a hologram from a lower dimensional particle theory.

Using a new CRISPR-based technique, researchers are examining how the position of DNA within the nucleus affects gene expression and cell function.

As chemists tie the most complicated molecular knot yet, biophysicists create a “periodic table” that describes what kinds of knots are possible.

Odd enough to potentially model the strangeness of the physical world, complex numbers with “imaginary” components are rooted in the familiar.