How Life and Luck Changed Earth’s Minerals
Is geology predictable, or is the mineral composition of Earth due to chance events? The answers could eventually help scientists identify planets likely to harbor life.
The New Laws of Explosive Networks
Researchers are uncovering the hidden laws that reveal how the Internet grows, how viruses spread, and how financial bubbles burst.
Theories of Everything, Mapped
In the quest for a unified, coherent description of all of nature — a “theory of everything” — physicists have unearthed the taproots linking ever more disparate phenomena.
At Tiny Scales, a Giant Burst on Tree of Life
A new technique for finding and characterizing microbes has boosted the number of known bacteria by almost 50 percent, revealing a hidden world all around us.
Famous Fluid Equations Are Incomplete
A 115-year effort to bridge the particle and fluid descriptions of nature has led mathematicians to an unexpected answer.
New Letters Added to the Genetic Alphabet
Scientists hope that new genetic letters, created in the lab, will endow DNA with new powers.
Decoding the Remarkable Algorithms of Ants
The biologist Deborah Gordon has uncovered how ant colonies search efficiently without central organization, an insight that might improve computer networks.
The Fuzzball Fix for a Black Hole Paradox
By replacing black holes with fuzzballs — dense, star-like objects from string theory — researchers think they can avoid some knotty paradoxes at the edge of physics.
Biologists Invoke the Past in Modern Bacteria
By swapping ancient genes into modern E. coli, scientists hope to tease out the rules of evolution.