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Quanta Magazine    @QuantaMagazine   ·   6 hours
Turing patterns have been identified on the smallest scale yet, suggesting that the pattern-formation mechanism might be even more pervasive than scientists have thought.
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Quanta Magazine    @QuantaMagazine   ·   9/16/2021
How did animals evolve eyes? Or a liver? Or any novel organ, for that matter? The defensive glands of beetles have given scientists a unique glimpse into the cellular coevolution that may unite tissues into new functional organs.
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Quanta Magazine    @QuantaMagazine   ·   9/16/2021
Experiments in bacteria once gave biologists hope that systems analogous to simple electronic circuits might govern all cells. Recent work shows that the real “logic of life” is far messier but gloriously versatile. @philipcball reports:
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Quanta Magazine    @QuantaMagazine   ·   9/16/2021
Lisa Feldman Barrett (@LFeldmanBarrett), a neuroscientist at Northeastern University, thinks that perception, memory and other familiar categories of mental function are “poor guides for understanding how brains are structured or how they work.”
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Quanta Magazine    @QuantaMagazine   ·   9/15/2021
What does it mean to “understand” something, and how can that be learned by a machine? Melanie Mitchell (@MelMitchell1) reasons that the ability to make analogies may be essential to human understanding and human-like artificial intelligence.
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Quanta Magazine    @QuantaMagazine   ·   9/15/2021
Infinity category theory may lead mathematicians to abandon the equals sign for the squishier but more comprehensive notion of “equivalence,” @KSHartnett reported for Quanta in 2019.
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Quanta Magazine    @QuantaMagazine   ·   9/15/2021
“Could it be that time is an illusion and smooth time is an emergent consequence of us trying to put events into a smooth order? It is certainly an intriguing possibility that is not easily dismissed.” Marcus Huber, theoretical physicist
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Quanta Magazine    @QuantaMagazine   ·   9/15/2021
Earth’s mantle plumes are arbiters of life and death. Recent seismic analysis hints at a gargantuan “tree” of plumes that rise from Earth’s molten heart, offering seismologists a glimpse of the planet’s volcanic past and future. @SquigglyVolcano reports:
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Quanta Magazine    @QuantaMagazine   ·   9/14/2021
An abstract space is n-dimensional if there are n degrees of freedom within it, or if it requires n coordinates to describe the location of a point. This sounds simple, but the idea of dimension can still be devilishly complex.
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Quanta Magazine    @QuantaMagazine   ·   9/14/2021
Glycans, complex sugars that stud cellular surfaces, guide many of life’s most important interactions. Recent evidence suggests that all organisms use essentially the same biomolecular language to define their structure.
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Quanta Magazine    @QuantaMagazine   ·   9/12/2021
The statistician George E.P. Box famously said, “All models are wrong, but some are useful.” Our video investigates how usefully wrong COVID-19 models have been and why their true value often gets lost in translation.
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Quanta Magazine    @QuantaMagazine   ·   9/11/2021
The Standard Model is the most successful scientific theory of all time. On the Quanta YouTube channel, David Tong, a theoretical physicist at the University of Cambridge, explains how the model comes together and what it’s still missing.
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Quanta Magazine    @QuantaMagazine   ·   9/10/2021
In the mid-1980s, the brilliant mathematician Jean Bourgain thought up a simple question about high-dimensional shapes. But he remained stuck on it for the rest of his life. A postdoctoral statistician found a solution even Bourgain missed.
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Quanta Magazine    @QuantaMagazine   ·   9/10/2021
In a video interview for the Quanta YouTube channel, geneticist Karen Miga explains how decades of work, advocacy and technological advancement helped sequence the entire human genome including the tricky heterochromatin bits.
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Quanta Magazine    @QuantaMagazine   ·   9/9/2021
When the champagne was popped for the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003, technological limitations still left almost 10% of the genome unsequenced. Now the sequencing is truly complete.
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Quanta Magazine    @QuantaMagazine   ·   9/9/2021
From 2018: The reassignment of the familiar houseplant P. bipinnatifidum to a new genus offers a useful glimpse into how molecular biology and digital technologies have been quietly transforming taxonomy and systematics.
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Quanta Magazine    @QuantaMagazine   ·   9/8/2021
By engineering highly entangled quantum systems in a tabletop experiment, Monika Schleier-Smith, a physicist at Stanford University, hopes to produce something that looks and acts like the warped space-time of general relativity.
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Quanta Magazine    @QuantaMagazine   ·   9/8/2021
In 1961, the physicist Rolf Landauer showed that any logically irreversible computation would result in a minimal nonzero amount of work converted into heat dumped into the environment. “Information is physical,” he later proclaimed.
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Quanta Magazine    @QuantaMagazine   ·   9/7/2021
Mathematicians are closer than ever to proving that a wide range of phase transitions critical points when physical systems change from one state to another display the same mathematical elegance.
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Quanta Magazine    @QuantaMagazine   ·   9/6/2021
Elliptic curves, “cubic” curves with equations that have variables raised to the third power, are of great interest to number theorists and cryptographers. Here’s how to inspect whether elliptic curves contain rational points:
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Quanta Magazine    @QuantaMagazine   ·   9/6/2021
Right now, the computerized proof assistant Lean barely has the knowledge of an undergrad but every day, dozens of mathematicians feed it more math. Hopes are high for Lean’s future after graduation.
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Quanta Magazine    @QuantaMagazine   ·   9/5/2021
When both rails of DNA’s helical ladder are cut at the same position, genetic damage associated with cancer, neurodegeneration and aging can follow. Yet these breaks can also be constructive for immune and neural processes.
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Quanta Magazine    @QuantaMagazine   ·   9/5/2021
The human genome is rife with messy, repeated sequences of DNA that do not encode proteins. Scientists are working to understand why evolution favors hanging on to this genomic clutter.
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Quanta Magazine    @QuantaMagazine   ·   9/4/2021
Maria Chudnovsky of Princeton University helped prove that the Erdős-Hajnal conjecture holds true for a specific shape: Any graph that excludes a pentagon must have certain global characteristics.
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Quanta Magazine    @QuantaMagazine   ·   9/3/2021
Glycans “are a mysterious, omnipresent entity in biology that we either conveniently ignore or struggle to make sense of,” said researcher Daniel Bojar. Knowledge of these molecules could be the key to developing better disease prevention and treatment.
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Quanta Magazine    @QuantaMagazine   ·   9/2/2021
We know that biological neurons are more complex than the “neurons” in artificial deep neural networks, but by how much? Computational neuroscientists have come up with a new answer. @allisonpwhitten reports:
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Quanta Magazine    @QuantaMagazine   ·   9/2/2021
Mounting evidence suggests that the brain does not process mental functions in ways that reflect our subjective experiences.
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Quanta Magazine    @QuantaMagazine   ·   9/2/2021
How accurate and efficient can a clock possibly be? New limits may help physicists design optimally efficient quantum clocks for future quantum computers and robots.
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Quanta Magazine    @QuantaMagazine   ·   9/2/2021
From 2020: How do you vaccinate wild animals? Recent experiments and models suggest that transferable and transmissible vaccines could stop zoonotic viruses similar to SARS-CoV-2 and HIV before they spill over to humans.
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Quanta Magazine    @QuantaMagazine   ·   9/1/2021
Sometimes the brain’s electrical output looks more like jagged noise than smooth waves. A technique called Fourier analysis helps researchers break down aperiodic brain activity, much as a prism transforms a sunbeam into a rainbow.
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Quanta Magazine    @QuantaMagazine   ·   8/30/2021
Artificial neurons and biological ones process the signals they receive in conceptually similar ways, though the details of their operation differ.
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Quanta Magazine    @QuantaMagazine   ·   8/29/2021
From 2019: Something big appears to be missing from models of the ancient climate an X-factor whose wild swings leave no trace in the fossil record. Climate physicists are zeroing in on cloud loss, which could cause runaway warming in future.
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Quanta Magazine    @QuantaMagazine   ·   8/19/2021
Three types of linear hypergraphs have the maximum chromatic index. They require as many colors as they have vertices.
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Quanta Magazine    @QuantaMagazine   ·   8/13/2021
The Standard Model is the most successful scientific theory of all time. In our video explainer, David Tong, a theoretical physicist at the University of Cambridge, explains how the model comes together and what it’s still missing.
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Quanta Magazine    @QuantaMagazine   ·   8/11/2021
Mathematicians use the Ising model to represent physical systems near critical points, including metals losing magnetism and gas becoming liquid. Mathematicians have sought to prove a symmetry called conformal invariance takes hold at these phase changes.
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Big ideas in science and math. Because you want to know more. Launched by @SimonsFdn. Get our weekly newsletter:
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