Essays and videos exploring physics, evolution, cosmology and other frontiers in science

AstronomyBiologyBiotechnologyChemistryComplexityComputing and artificial intelligenceCosmologyDeep timeEarth science and climateEcology and environmental sciencesEngineeringEvolutionGeneticsHistory of scienceHuman evolutionHuman reproductionIllness and diseaseMathematicsMedicineOceans and waterPalaeontologyPhysicsQuantum theorySpace exploration

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Metaphysics

Why mathematical truths exist with or without minds to consider them

8 minutes

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Mathematics

How a curious question about colouring maps changed mathematics forever

9 minutes

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History of science

How an ancient polymath first calculated Earth’s size, as told by Carl Sagan

7 minutes

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Music

As a pianist strikes a chord, visualisations of his notes appear in real time

5 minutes

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Logic and probability

Chew over the prisoner’s dilemma and see if you can find the rational path out

6 minutes

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Ethics

Moral mathematics

Subjecting the problems of ethics to the cool quantifications of logic and probability can help us to be better people

Elad Uzan

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Physics

An interstellar voyage explores the ‘paradox’ of twins separated by light years

6 minutes

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Mathematics

Imaginary numbers are real

These odd values were long dismissed as bookkeeping. Now physicists are proving that they describe the hidden shape of nature

Karmela Padavic-Callaghan

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Mathematics

How a verbal paradox shattered the notion of total certainty in mathematics

5 minutes

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Computing and artificial intelligence

AI’s first philosopher

Alan Turing was a pioneer of machine learning, whose work continues to shape the crucial question: can machines think?

Sebastian Sunday Grève

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Philosophy of science

What is a law of nature?

Laws of nature are impossible to break, and nearly as difficult to define. Just what kind of necessity do they possess?

Marc Lange

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Logic and probability

The unresolved probability paradox that goes to the heart of scientific objectivity

8 minutes

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Economics

A softer economics

Financial markets are entangled and uncertain. When will economists let go of physics envy to embrace the quantum revolution?

David Orrell

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Information and communication

The modern world is littered with statistical noise. Here’s how to find the signal

5 minutes

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Mathematics

Check in to the Hilbert Hotel, and learn why some infinities are bigger than others

6 minutes

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Mathematics

Mathematics for gamblers

If philosophers and mathematicians struggle with probability, can gamblers really hope to grasp their losing game?

Catalin Barboianu

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Engineering

Why are NASA engineers borrowing techniques from origami artists?

5 minutes

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Mathematics

Against ‘beauty’ in science – how striving for elegance stifles progress

9 minutes

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Chemistry

There was nothing quick about how we arrived at the standardised second

6 minutes

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Mathematics

Delight as the hard-edged world melts into a full-rainbow spectrum of reality

2 minutes

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Physics

A millimetre makes a world of difference when calculating planetary trajectories

6 minutes

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Mathematics

This puzzle is nearly impossible – but working out why is its own brain-teaser

19 minutes

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Economic history

Counting China

By rejecting sampling in favour of exhaustive enumeration, communist China’s dream of total information became a nightmare

Arunabh Ghosh

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Metaphysics

‘The whole thing is a monstrosity!’ How a symmetry heretic sees the Universe

8 minutes