Copy
Math and Science News from Quanta Magazine
View this email in your browser
My Bookmarks

NUMBER THEORY | ALL TOPICS

 

How I Learned to Love and Fear the Riemann Hypothesis

By ALEX KONTOROVICH; Video by EMILY BUDER

A number theorist recalls his first encounter with the Riemann hypothesis and breaks down the math in a new Quanta video.

Read the essay | Watch the video

MOLECULAR BIOLOGY

 

A Newfound Source of Cellular Order in the Chemistry of Life

By VIVIANE CALLIER

Recent research suggests that droplets of biomolecules inside cells may play an important role in the expression of genes, cell division and other processes.

Read the article

Related: 
The Shape-Shifting Army Inside Your Cells
by Alla Katsnelson (2017)

ABSTRACTIONS BLOG

 

Galaxy-Size Bubbles Discovered Towering Over the Milky Way

By CHARLIE WOOD

For decades, astronomers debated whether a particular smudge was close-by and small, or distant and huge. A new X-ray map supports the massive option.

Read the blog

Related: 
The New History of the Milky Way
by Charlie Wood (2020)

ABSTRACTIONS BLOG

 

New Quantum Algorithms Finally Crack Nonlinear Equations

By MAX G. LEVY

Two teams found different ways for quantum computers to process nonlinear systems by first disguising them as linear ones.

Read the blog

Related:
Machine Learning’s ‘Amazing’ Ability to Predict Chaos
by Natalie Wolchover (2018)

QUANTA SCIENCE PODCAST

 

Computer Scientists Break Traveling Salesperson Record

Podcast Hosted by SUSAN VALOT;
Story by ERICA KLARREICH


After 44 years, there’s finally a better way to find approximate solutions to the notoriously difficult traveling salesperson problem.

Listen to the podcast

Around the Web

Planet, or Not?
What makes a planet? Two nearly stellar super-Jupiters show that the label is as slippery for big worlds as it is for small ones like Pluto, Rebecca Boyle reports for Discover Magazine. The universe is unconcerned with our labels of what is or isn’t a planet, instead making worlds of almost all sizes. Oddly, however, there seems to be a loose ban on “super-Earths,” as Boyle reported for Quanta in 2019.

Sinking Is a Drag
What happens after high school physics when objects stop falling in vacuums? Numberphile demonstrates how to tackle a fluid’s drag in a new video, setting up a race between a sinking Eiffel Tower and Empire State Building. But fluids aren’t always so transparent. Researchers have long wondered if the classic fluid equations can break down. A hint that they might came in 2019, Kevin Hartnett reported for Quanta.

Uncovering Hidden Biodiversity
Untold species hide in front of our eyes, distinguishable from others only by differences in their DNA, Patrick Greenfield reported over the holidays for The Guardian. DNA studies have shown that the differences in cryptic life can go beyond the species level. In 2018, Charlie Wood reported for Quanta about the first animal genus to be identified on the basis of its genetic hallmarks alone.

Thank You, Virus
Giant viruses may be a boon, if you’re an algae. The mysterious invaders gift genes to their hosts, perhaps speeding the algae's evolution, Sarah Zhang reports for The Atlantic. Giant viruses may have shaped the evolution of more than just algae. They could be responsible for all cells with nuclei, Christie Wilcox reported for Quanta last year. More recently, we mammals may have giant viruses to thank for our existence. An ancient infusion of viral genes is what allows the placenta to differentiate from the developing egg and embryo, Avir Mitra reported for PBS’s WHYY last year. 
Follow Quanta
Simons Foundation

160 5th Avenue, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10010

Copyright © 2021 Quanta Magazine, an editorially independent division of the Simons Foundation