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Math and Science News from Quanta Magazine
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GEOMETRY | ALL TOPICS

 

Mathematicians Identify Threshold at Which Shapes Give Way

By MORDECHAI RORVIG

A new proof establishes the boundary at which a shape becomes so corrugated, it can be crushed.

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GEOPHYSICS

 

Seismic Data Helps Scientists Forecast Volcanic Explosions

By ROBIN GEORGE ANDREWS

Scientists have begun to decipher the subtle signs that reveal how explosive a volcanic eruption is going to be.

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Related: 
Iceland’s Eruptions Reveal
the Hot History of Mars

by Robin George Andrews

MOLECULAR BIOLOGY

 

RNA Brakes May Stabilize a Cellular Symbiosis

By MAX KOZLOV

In some symbiotic partnerships, an RNA-based mechanism may sabotage the growth of greedy hosts.

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Related: 
Did Viruses Create the Nucleus?
The Answer May Be Near.
 
by Christie Wilcox (2020)


INSIGHTS PUZZLE

 

How a Simple Arithmetic Puzzle Can Guide Discovery

By PRADEEP MUTALIK

Playing with numbers can lead to deep mathematical and scientific insights.

Read the puzzle solution

Related: 
The Puzzling Power
of Simple Arithmetic

by Pradeep Mutalik

Around the Web

Earthquake in Slow Motion
Researchers have discovered the longest earthquake yet — a “slow slip” that rumbled beneath Sumatra for 32 years before unleashing a mega-quake, Maaya Wei-Haas reports for National Geographic. Earthquakes strike randomly, but geophysicists have found that machine-learning algorithms can make rough forecasts of slow slips, Ashley Smart reported for Quanta in 2019.

Tracing Fast Radio Bursts
Astronomers have tracked a handful of intense radio bursts back to the spiral arms of galaxies — a hint that their sources are not extremely old, Lisa Grossman reports for Science News. The find is consistent with the growing consensus that the mysterious bursts come from magnetized neutron stars, such as the one that fired off a flash in our cosmic backyard last year, as Shannon Hall reported for Quanta at the time.
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