
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.
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.

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.

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.

DNA Has Four Bases. Some Viruses Swap in a Fifth.
The DNA of some viruses doesn’t use the same four nucleotide bases found in all other life. New work shows how this exception is possible and hints that it could be more common than we think.

Neurons Unexpectedly Encode Information in the Timing of Their Firing
A temporal pattern of activity observed in human brains for the first time may explain how we can learn so quickly.

Same or Different? The Question Flummoxes Neural Networks
For all their triumphs, AI systems can’t seem to generalize the concepts of “same” and “different.” Without that, researchers worry, the quest to create truly intelligent machines may be hopeless.

Astronomers Find Secret PlanetMaking Ingredient: Magnetic Fields
Scientists have long struggled to understand how common planets form. A new supercomputer simulation shows that the missing ingredient may be magnetism.

Squishy Neutron Star Setback Dampens Hopes of Exotic Matter
Groundbreaking results show that neutron stars of different masses may have the same size—upending astrophysical models.

Mathematicians Answer Old Question About Odd Graphs
A pair of mathematicians solved a legendary question about the proportion of vertices in a graph with an odd number of connections.

How Mathematicians Use Homology to Make Sense of Topology
Originally devised as a rigorous means of counting holes, homology provides a scaffolding for mathematical ideas, allowing for a new way to analyze the shapes within data.

How Maxwell’s Demon Continues to Startle Scientists
The thorny thought experiment has been turned into a real experiment—one that physicists use to probe the physics of information.

Iceland’s Eruptions Reveal the Hot History of Mars
The new volcanic fissures are more otherworldly than they first appear.

The NearMagical Mystery of Quasiparticles
The zoo of spontaneously emerging particlelike entities known as quasiparticles has grown quickly and become more and more exotic. Here are a few of the most curious and potentially useful examples.

New Kind of Space Explosion Reveals the Birth of a Black Hole
A supernovalike explosion dubbed the Camel appears to be the result of a newborn black hole eating a star from the inside out.

CloudMaking Aerosol Could Devastate Polar Sea Ice
An overlooked but powerful driver of cloud formation could accelerate the loss of polar sea ice.