
Life’s First Peptides May Have Grown on RNA Strands
RNA and peptides coevolving in the primordial world might have jointly served as a precursor to the modern ribosome.

Math’s “Oldest Problem Ever” Gets a New Answer
A new proof significantly strengthens a decadesold result about the ubiquity of ways to represent whole numbers as sums of fractions.

Four Years On, New Experiment Sees No Sign of “Cosmic Dawn”
When astronomers tried to confirm a signal from the birth of the first stars after the Big Bang, they saw nothing.
The ‘Weirdest’ Matter, Made of Partial Particles, Defies Description
Theorists are in a frenzy over “fractons,” bizarre, but potentially useful, hypothetical particles that can only move in combination with one another.

AI Overcomes Stumbling Block on BrainInspired Hardware
Algorithms that use the brain’s communication signal can now work on analog neuromorphic chips, which closely mimic our energyefficient brains.

How the Physics of Resonance Shapes Reality
The same phenomenon by which an opera singer can shatter a wineglass also underlies the very existence of subatomic particles.

An Ancient Geometry Problem Falls to New Mathematical Techniques
Three mathematicians show, for the first time, how to form a square with the same area as a circle by cutting them into interchangeable pieces that can be visualized.

An Injection of Chaos Solves DecadesOld Fluid Mystery
In the 1960s, drillers noticed that certain fluids would firm up if they flowed too fast. Researchers have finally explained why.

Detailed Footage Finally Reveals What Triggers Lightning
Scientists have never been able to adequately explain where lightning comes from. Now the first detailed observations of its emergence inside a cloud have exposed how electric fields grow strong enough to let bolts fly.

Gravitational Waves Should Permanently Distort SpaceTime
The “gravitational memory effect” predicts that a passing gravitational wave should forever alter the structure of spacetime. Physicists have linked the phenomenon to a potential solution to the black hole information paradox.

AI Researchers Fight Noise by Turning to Biology
Tiny amounts of artificial noise can fool neural networks, but not humans. Some researchers are looking to neuroscience for a fix.

Quantum Simulators Create a Totally New Phase of Matter
One of the first goals of quantum computing has been to recreate bizarre quantum systems that can’t be studied in an ordinary computer. A darkhorse quantum simulator has now done just that.

Mathematicians Find Structure in Biased Polynomials
New work establishes a tighter connection between the rank of a polynomial and the extent to which it favors particular outputs.

An UltraPrecise Clock Shows How to Link the Quantum World With Gravity
Time was found to flow differently between the top and bottom of a single cloud of atoms. Physicists hope that such a system will one day help them combine quantum mechanics and Einstein’s theory of gravity.

How Wavelets Allow Researchers to Transform, and Understand, Data
Built upon the ubiquitous Fourier transform, the mathematical tools known as wavelets allow unprecedented analysis and understanding of continuous signals.

In Topology, When Are Two Shapes the Same?
As topologists seek to classify shapes, the effort hinges on how to define a manifold and what it means for two of them to be equivalent.

The Complex Truth About ‘Junk DNA’
Genomes hold immense quantities of noncoding DNA. Some of it is essential for life, some seems useless, and some has its own agenda.

Computer Scientists Discover Limits of Major Research Algorithm
The most widely used technique for finding the largest or smallest values of a math function turns out to be a fundamentally difficult computational problem.

Turing Patterns Turn Up in a Tiny Crystal
The mechanism behind leopard spots and zebra stripes also appears to explain the patterned growth of a bismuth crystal, extending Alan Turing’s 1952 idea to the atomic scale.