Archivo: Quanta

Two years ago, Yitang Zhang was virtually unknown. Now his surprise solution to a major problem in number theory has catapulted him to mathematical stardom. Where does he go from here?

Is dark energy a cosmic chameleon that can fade into its surroundings? A recent test brings the mysterious anti-gravitational force down to earth.

The comb jelly, a primitive marine creature, is forcing scientists to rethink how animals got their start.

A penguin-shaped anomaly first detected two years ago has survived a comprehensive new analysis of data from the first run of CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

In 1978, the mathematician John McKay noticed what seemed like an odd coincidence. He had been studying the different ways of representing the structure of a mysterious entity called the monster group, a gargantuan algebraic object that, mathematicians believed, captured a new kind of symmetry. Mathematicians weren’t sure that the monster group actually existed, but they knew that if it did exist, it acted in special ways in particular dimensions, the first two of which were 1 and 196,883.

An infection sweeping through Australia’s koala population is revealing how retroviruses insert themselves into the genome

Inside the cell’s nucleus, the double helix folds up in myriad loops and twists. The quest to unravel this structure is revealing the subtle genetic orchestration of all life on Earth.

Researchers are demonstrating that, in certain contexts, string theory is the only consistent theory of quantum gravity. Might this make it true?

A recent solution to the prisoner’s dilemma, a classic game theory scenario, has created new puzzles in evolutionary biology.

Interest in a powerful DNA editing tool called CRISPR has revealed that bacteria are far more sophisticated than anyone imagined.