Mathematician Disproves 80-Year-Old Algebra Conjecture

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Mathematician Disproves 80-Year-Old Algebra Conjecture

By ERICA KLARREICH

Inside the symmetries of a crystal shape, a postdoctoral researcher has unearthed a counterexample to a basic conjecture about multiplicative inverses.

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NEUROSCIENCE

 

The Brain 'Rotates' Memories to Save Them From New Sensations

By JORDANA CEPELEWICZ

Some populations of neurons simultaneously process sensations and memories. New work shows how the brain rotates those representations to prevent interference.

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Related: 
Overtaxed Working Memory
Knocks the Brain Out of Sync

by Jordana Cepelewicz (2018)

QUANTIZED COLUMNS

 

How Radio Astronomy Reveals the Universe

By EMILY LEVESQUE

Radio waves, longer and less energetic than visible light, give astronomers access to some of the most obscure physics in the cosmos.

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Related: 
A Surprise Discovery Points to
the Source of Fast Radio Bursts

by Shannon Hall (2020)

Q&A

 

The New Historian of
the Smash That Made
the Himalayas

By ROBIN GEORGE ANDREWS

Around 67 million years ago, a massive volcanic plume propelled the Indian microcontinent into Eurasia, forming the Himalayas — or so the theory went. In a new interview, geologist Lucía Pérez-Díaz explains how she disproved this theory.

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Watch the video

THE JOY OF X

 

Trachette Jackson
Fights Cancer With
Mathematics

Hosted by STEVEN STROGATZ;
Produced by DANA BIALEK

Chemotherapy causes collateral damage throughout the body, even as it kills cancer cells. Trachette Jackson specializes in using mathematics to improve the precision with which therapies hit only their targets.

Listen to the podcast

Read the transcript

 

QUANTA SCIENCE PODCAST

 

Mathematicians Resurrect Hilbert's
13th Problem

Podcast produced by SUSAN VALOT; Story by STEPHEN ORNES

Long considered solved, David Hilbert's question about seventh-degree polynomials is leading researchers to a new web of mathematical connections.

Listen to the podcast

Read the article

Around the Web

Fairies, Bacteria or Termites?
Strikingly round patches of bare ground known as "fairy circles" may form because bacteria in the soil make it hard for seeds to sprout, Veronique Greenwood reports for The New York Times. This isn't the first explanation for fairy circles based on ecological interactions. The Princeton University mathematician Corina Tarnita described how resource competition among termites could explain the circles in a 2017 interview with Quanta.

Standard Bearers
The discoveries of the neutron and the positron nearly a century ago rocked physicists' view of reality and paved the way for nuclear weapons and nuclear energy, Emily Conover writes for Science News. They also launched a revolution that eventually became the Standard Model, the most complete census (so far) of reality's particles. Explore the theory's structure in this Quanta visualization.
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