Join writers and editors from Quanta Magazine for a stimulating panel discussion on the biggest ideas in math and science presented in two new books: Alice and Bob Meet the Wall of Fire and The Prime Number Conspiracy. Panelists will discuss whether our universe is “natural,” the nature of time, the origin and evolution of life, the role of mathematics in science and society, and where all these questions are taking us.
How does evolution select the fittest “individuals” when they are ecosystems made up of hosts and their microbiomes? Biologists debate the need to revise theories. Read more at QuantaMagazine.org. Music is “Chee Zee Jungle - Primal Drive” by Kevin MacLeod.
Using a new CRISPR-based technique, researchers are examining how the position of DNA within the nucleus affects gene expression and cell function. Read more at QuantaMagazine.org. Music is “Sugar Zone” by Silent Partner.
Computer vision researchers have uncovered a world of visual signals hiding in our midst, including subtle motions that betray what’s being said and faint images of what’s around a corner. Read more at QuantaMagazine.org. Music is “Confusing Disco” by Birocratic.
Teenager Ewin Tang has proven that classical computers can solve the “recommendation problem” nearly as fast as quantum computers. The result eliminates one of the best examples of quantum speedup. Read more at QuantaMagazine.org. Music is “Retro” by Wayne Jones.
Psychedelic drugs can trigger characteristic hallucinations, which have long been thought to hold clues about the brain’s circuitry. After nearly a century of study, a possible explanation is crystallizing. Read more at QuantaMagazine.org. Music is “Retro” by Wayne Jones.
After researchers found a loophole in a famous experiment designed to prove that quantum objects don’t have intrinsic properties, three experimental groups quickly sewed the loophole shut. The episode closes the door on many “hidden variable” theories.
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. Read more at QuantaMagazine.org. Music by Everet Almond.
Computer scientists have been searching for years for a type of problem that a quantum computer can solve but that any possible future classical computer cannot. Now they’ve found one. Read more at QuantaMagazine.org. Music by Vibe Mountain.
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. Music by Audionautix.
Cosmologists have shown that it’s theoretically possible for a contracting universe to bounce and expand. The new work resuscitates an old idea that directly challenges the Big Bang theory of cosmic origins.
Textbooks say that the moon was formed after a Mars-size mass smashed the young Earth. But new evidence has cast doubt on that story, leaving researchers to dream up new ways to get a giant rock into orbit.
The three young friends who devised the “happy ending” problem would become some of the most influential mathematicians of the 20th century, but were never able to solve their own puzzle. Now it receives its first big breakthrough.
Recent tests show that quantum computers made by D-Wave systems should solve some problems faster than ordinary computers. Researchers have begun to map out exactly which queries might benefit from these quantum machines.
An experiment claims to have invalidated a decades-old criticism against pilot-wave theory, an alternative formulation of quantum mechanics that eliminates the most baffling features of the subatomic universe.
The search for exotic new physical phenomena is being led by huge experiments like the Large Hadron Collider. But at the other end of the spectrum lie tabletop experiments — small-scale probes of hidden dimensions, dark matter and dark energy.
A satellite spotted a burst of light just as gravitational waves rolled in from the collision of two black holes. Was the flash a cosmic coincidence, or do astrophysicists need to rethink what black holes can do?