Cells That ‘Taste’ Danger Set Off Immune Responses
Taste and smell receptors in unexpected organs monitor the state of the body’s natural microbial health and raise an alarm over invading parasites.
Neutrinos Lead to Unexpected Discovery in Basic Math
Three physicists stumbled across an unexpected relationship between some of the most ubiquitous objects in math.
Mathematicians Calculate How Randomness Creeps In
Mathematicians have figured out exactly how many moves it takes to randomize a 15 puzzle.
Virginia Trimble Has Seen the Stars
How a young celebrity became one of the first female astronomers at Caltech, befriended Richard Feynman, and ended up the world’s foremost chronicler of the science of the night sky.
‘Noise’ in the Brain Encodes Surprisingly Important Signals
Activity in the visual cortex and other sensory areas is dominated by signals about body movements, down to little tics and twitches. Scientists are now rethinking how they study and conceive of perception.
Computers Evolve a New Path Toward Human Intelligence
By ignoring their goals, evolutionary algorithms have solved longstanding challenges in artificial intelligence.
Good Cube Hunting
Looking for answers in infinite space is hard. High school math can help narrow your search.
What Shape Is the Universe? A New Study Suggests We’ve Got It All Wrong
Most every cosmologist believes the universe is flat. A new analysis argues that it’s closed.
The Most-Magnetic Objects in the Universe Attract New Controversy
How do magnetars get so magnetic? A study of stellar explosions shows that the long-accepted theory might be wrong.
Mathematicians Cut Apart Shapes to Find Pieces of Equations
New work on the problem of “scissors congruence” explains when it’s possible to slice up one shape and reassemble it as another.
Perceptions of Musical Octaves Are Learned, Not Wired in the Brain
Singing experiments with residents of the Bolivian rainforest demonstrate how biology and experience shape the way we hear music.
Cosmic Triangles Open a Window to the Origin of Time
A close look at fundamental symmetries has exposed hidden patterns in the universe. Physicists think that those same symmetries may also reveal time’s original secret.
Quasicrystal Meteorite Poses Age-Old Questions
When scientists traced a museum rock back to its origins, they uncovered mysteries about the early solar system.
Dueling Brain Waves Anchor or Erase Learning During Sleep
While we sleep, one kind of slow brain wave helps to reinforce memories, but a competing wave weakens them.