First Support for a Physics Theory of Life
Take chemistry, add energy, get life. The first tests of Jeremy England’s provocative origin-of-life hypothesis are in, and they appear to show how order can arise from nothing.
Kaisa Matomäki Dreams of Primes
Kaisa Matomäki has proved that properties of prime numbers over long intervals hold over short intervals as well. The techniques she uses have transformed the study of these elusive numbers.
A Tenacious Explorer of Abstract Surfaces
Maryam Mirzakhani’s monumental work draws deep connections between topology, geometry and dynamical systems.
Pentagon Tiling Proof Solves Century-Old Math Problem
A French mathematician has completed the classification of all convex pentagons, and therefore all convex polygons, that tile the plane.
Lucky Break Leads to Controversial Supernova Discovery
Supernova hunters were able to train their telescopes on a recent eruption just hours after it exploded. What they found only adds to the growing list of questions surrounding these cosmic blasts.
Can Microbes Encourage Altruism?
If gut bacteria can sway their hosts to be selfless, it could answer a riddle that goes back to Darwin.
Juan Maldacena, Pondering Quantum Gravity by the Pond
Grand ideas have a way of turning up in unusual settings, far from an office or a chalkboard. Months ago, Quanta Magazine set out to photograph some of the world’s most accomplished scientists and mathematicians in their favorite places to think, tinker and create. This series explores the role of cherished spaces — public or private, spare or crowded, inside or out — in clearing a path to inspiration.
Where Gravity Is Weak and Naked Singularities Are Verboten
The British physicist and mathematician Sir Roger Penrose conjectured in 1969 that visible or “naked” singularities are actually forbidden from forming in nature, in a kind of cosmic censorship. But why should quantum gravity censor itself?
Dark Matter Recipe Calls for One Part Superfluid
A different kind of dark matter could help to resolve an old celestial conundrum.