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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Film and visual culture

Stop-motion origami unfurls in a playful exploration of how senses overlap

3 minutes

video

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

essay

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

video

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