After their 2015 success, the researchers set out to use their flattening technique to address all finite polyhedra. This change made the problem far more complex. This is because with non-orthogonal polyhedra, faces might have the shape of triangles or trapezoids—and the same creasing [...]
Tag: Quanta Magazine
A Puzzling Quantum Scenario Appears to Violate a Law of Physics
Remember we’re dealing with the photon’s wave function here. Since the bounce doesn’t constitute a measurement, the wave function doesn’t collapse. Instead, it splits in two: Most of the wave function remains in the box, but the small, rapidly oscillating piece near where the [...]
Could Life Use a Longer Genetic Code? Maybe, but It’s Unlikely
As wildly diverse as life on Earth is—whether it’s a jaguar hunting down a deer in the Amazon, an orchid vine spiraling around a tree in the Congo, primitive cells growing in boiling hot springs in Canada, or a stockbroker sipping coffee on Wall Street—at [...]
A Brain Chemical Helps Neurons Know When to Start a Movement
By washing through the brain, neuromodulators “allow you to govern the excitability of a large region of the brain more or less in the same way or at the same time,” said [...]
An Antimatter Experiment Shows Surprises Near Absolute Zero
The project was designed to see if spectroscopy in a helium bath was possible at all—a proof of concept for future experiments that would use even more exotic hybrid atoms.
But Sótér was curious about how the hybrid atoms would react to different temperatures of helium. She convinced [...]
Mitochondria Double as Tiny Lenses in the Eye
A mosquito watches you through a lattice of microscopic lenses. You stare back, fly swatter in hand, closely tracking the bloodsucker with your humble single-lens eyes. But it turns out that the way you see each other—and the world—may have more in common than you might think.
A Newly Measured Particle Could Break Known Physics
Physicists have found that an elementary particle called the W boson appears to be 0.1 percent too heavy—a tiny discrepancy that could foreshadow a huge shift in fundamental physics.
A New Tool for Finding Dark Matter Digs Up Nothing
Even the strongest gravitational waves that pass through the planet, created by the distant collisions of black holes, only stretch and compress each mile of Earth’s surface by one-thousandth the diameter of an atom. It’s hard to conceive of how small [...]
Peptides on Stardust May Have Provided a Shortcut to Life
Billions of years ago, some unknown location on the sterile, primordial Earth became a cauldron of complex organic molecules from which the first cells emerged. Origin-of-life researchers have proposed countless imaginative ideas about how that occurred and [...]
Math’s ‘Oldest Problem Ever’ Gets a New Answer
Number theorists are always looking for hidden structure. And when confronted by a numerical pattern that seems unavoidable, they test its mettle, trying hard—and often failing—to devise situations in which a given pattern cannot appear.