Fragments of energy – not waves or particles – may be the fundamental building blocks of the universe

New mathematics have shown that lines of energy can be used to describe the universe.

Photo by Usukhbayar Gankhuyag on Unsplash

Matter is what makes up the universe, but what makes up matter?

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'Magic square' math puzzle has gone unsolved since 1996

Think you can solve it? One mathematician has already offered about $1,000 and a bottle of champagne to whoever cracks it first.
  • The puzzle involves a particularly complicated type of magic square.
  • Magic squares are square arrays containing distinct numbers, and the sums of the numbers in the columns, rows and diagonals must be equal.
  • In 1996, the recreational mathematics writer Martin Gardner offered $100 to whoever could solve a 3x3 magic square — but using squared numbers.
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Can you solve what an MIT professor once called 'the hardest logic puzzle ever'?

Logic puzzles can teach reasoning in a fun way that doesn't feel like work.

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  • Logician Raymond Smullyan devised tons of logic puzzles, but one was declared by another philosopher to be the hardest of all time.
  • The problem, also known as the Three Gods Problem, is solvable, even if it doesn't seem to be.
  • It depends on using complex questions to assure that any answer given is useful.
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Paradox-free time travel is 'logically' possible, say physicists

Grandfathers, take heart. You'll survive the paradox that's been gunning for you since the 1930s.

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  • For a century, the specter of paradoxes has loomed over physics theories and science fiction scripts.
  • A University of Queensland undergraduate and his supervisor ran the numbers and found paradox-free time travel to be mathematically consistent.
  • But the practical hurdles to time travel vastly out distance the mathematical ones.
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    How math predicts life on Earth and the universe beyond

    Math doesn't suck. It is one of humanity's greatest and most mysterious journeys.

    • There is a pervasive cultural attitude against mathematics, but it is actually a mind-blowing tool for analyzing and predicting the world around us—and far beyond. We asked mathematicians Edward Frenkel and Po-Shen Loh, and physicists Michio Kaku, Michelle Thaller, Janna Levin and Geoffrey West to explain the wonders of math.
    • West explains the rule of 'quarter-power scaling' in biology—there is a mathematical equation that predicts how much food an organism needs to eat to survive and it's remarkably consistent, whether you're looking at ladybugs, cats, elephants, and even trees and flowers. Math underpins our lives in incredible ways.
    • Infinitesimal calculus—the math that describes how moving bodies change over time—turns out to predict not just phenomena on Earth but far out in the universe. The 11-dimensional math used by physicists turns out to predict the exact results of particle physics experiments. Humanity is on an incredible journey with mathematics and every day it opens up the world and universe in eye-opening ways.
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