###### To Decode the Brain, Scientists Automate the Study of Behavior

Would a tiny shift in the angle of a fly’s wing mean anything to a human observer? Would it even be noticed? Probably not. But machine learning systems equipped with the right motion-tracking tools could. With help of technologies like these, animal behaviorists are beginning to observe creatures with unprecedented precision, and they are uncovering patterns of behavior that no unaided human eye could detect. https://www.quantamagazine.org/to-decode-the-brain-scientists-automate-the-study-of-behavior-20191210/

###### A Number Theorist Who Solves the Hardest Easy Problems

When James Maynard was three, a health assessor told his mother that he’d have problems in school. “I was definitely one of those annoying kids who would say ‘Why? Why? Why?’ all the time,” he said. Now he’s one of the world’s leading number theorists answering some of the toughest questions about prime numbers. https://www.quantamagazine.org/james-maynard-solves-the-hardest-easy-math-problems-20200701/

###### How Do Bats Immune Systems Handle COVID-19?

Why are bats such a powerful incubator for viruses like SARS-CoV-2? In a Q&A with Quanta readers on YouTube Live, infectious disease epidemiologist and Quanta columnist Dr. Tara C. Smith weighed in:

###### https://www.quantamagazine.org/the-tricky-math-of-covid-19-herd-immunity-20200630

Once you know R₀ (“R naught”), the average rate of infection of a disease, you can plug it into a simple formula for calculating the herd immunity threshold: 1 – 1/ R₀. When a virus reaches that threshold, its spread slows and eventually ends. Broad estimates place the herd immunity threshold for COVID-19 at 60%, but a host of environmental and individual factors significantly complicate this calculation. https://www.quantamagazine.org/the-tricky-math-of-covid-19-herd-immunity-20200630

###### Albert Einstein, Holograms and Quantum Gravity

This episode of our award-winning In Theory video series examines a powerful theoretical tool from the world of physics: the AdS-CFT correspondence. The idea makes use of a holographic duality from string theory to connect particle physics to a higher dimensional space that includes gravity. Physicists are using this connection to develop theories about the inner workings of black holes, where extreme gravity operates at tiny scales. https://www.quantamagazine.org/albert-einstein-holograms-and-quantum-gravity-20181114

###### Why Are More Healthcare Workers Dying from COVID-19?

Young, otherwise fit health care workers may be especially at risk for contracting COVID-19 due to greater exposure to the novel coronavirus, as Dr. Tara C. Smith explained in a live Q&A:

###### Playing Hide-and-Seek, Machines Invent New Tools

Within a virtual playground, AI agents spontaneously built tools and used them in exciting and unexpected ways to win games of hide-and-seek. While becoming more adept at the game doesn’t have any practical uses, the fact that machines developed these novel strategies on their own has researchers hopeful that they’ve discovered a way to build AI that can solve open-ended, real-world problems. https://www.quantamagazine.org/artificial-intelligence-discovers-tool-use-in-hide-and-seek-games-20191118/

###### Could We Discover a Cure for COVID-19 Before a Vaccine?

While some scientists race to develop a vaccine for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, others are searching for existing drugs that could cure COVID-19. In this clip from her Q&A on YouTube Live, Quanta columnist Dr. Tara C. Smith discusses ends to the pandemic:

###### Was SARS-CoV-2 Created in the Lab?

In a Q&A with Quanta readers on YouTube Live, infectious disease epidemiologist and Quanta columnist Dr. Tara C. Smith explained why it is unlikely that the SARS-CoV-2 virus was created in a lab.

###### How Long Will It Take to Develop Herd Immunity?

The term “herd immunity” has proliferated in coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a live Q&A session, epidemiologist Dr. Tara C. Smith explained the dynamics of herd immunity and some of the complexities that it may present.

###### Why Are More Healthcare Workers Dying from COVID-19?

Young, otherwise fit health care workers may be especially at risk for contracting COVID-19 due to greater exposure to the novel coronavirus, as Dr. Tara C. Smith explained in a live Q&A:

###### How Do Bats Immune Systems Handle COVID-19?

Why are bats such a powerful incubator for viruses like SARS-CoV-2? In a Q&A with Quanta readers on YouTube Live, infectious disease epidemiologist and Quanta columnist Dr. Tara C. Smith weighed in:

###### Moon Duchin audiogram1 for "The Joy of x" podcast

When maps of electoral districts are gerrymandered into weird shapes, they look dishonest. But what’s the right way to count votes to ensure representative democracy? This week on “The Joy of x” podcast, mathematician Moon Duchin of Tufts University and host Steven Strogatz discuss the problems of defining a system that’s fair. https://www.quantamagazine.org/tag/the-joy-of-x

###### Moon Duchin audiogram2 for "The Joy of x" podcast

Can geometry save democracy from gerrymandering? This week on “The Joy of x” podcast, Moon Duchin of Tufts University discusses what mathematics can and can’t do to improve the voting system with host and fellow mathematician Steven Strogatz. https://www.quantamagazine.org/tag/the-joy-of-x

###### Brian Keating audiogram for "The Joy of x" podcast

The physicist Richard Feynman quipped that the first principle of science is not to fool yourself — and that you are always the easiest person to fool. The astrophysicist Brian Keating found that out the hard way after his team claimed to find long-sought proof of the theory of cosmic inflation … only to learn that cosmic dust had sabotaged their findings. This week on “The Joy of x” podcast, Keating reflects on that experience, along with the rest of his career in cosmology, for host Steven Strogatz. https://www.quantamagazine.org/tag/the-joy-of-x

###### Brian Nosek audiogram for "The Joy of x" podcast

What’s it like to be a researcher who uncovers a truth that is not welcomed by the public — and maybe not even by scientist peers? This week on “The Joy of x” podcast, Steven Strogatz speaks with two who found themselves in that unenviable position. First, mathematician Rebecca Goldin describes what happened when she tried to clarify the statistics about some of the touted safety benefits of breastfeeding. Then psychology researcher Brian Nosek talks about the “replication crisis” in his field. https://www.quantamagazine.org/tag/the-joy-of-x/

###### Cori Bargmann audiogram 1 for "The Joy of x" podcast

To “The Joy of x” host Steven Strogatz, the work of Cori Bargmann, a neurogeneticist at the Rockefeller University, is all about the line between life and nonlife, and what makes it possible for something to sense its surroundings, think and respond. In this podcast episode, Bargmann talks about being won over by the brain map of a transparent worm, doing calculations at the family dinner table, and identifying a mutated gene that later inspired a revolutionary cancer treatment. https://www.quantamagazine.org/tag/the-joy-of-x/

###### Tadashi Takieda audiogram3 for "The Joy of x" podcast

How did a professional artist become a language scholar, and then a noted mathematician who collects “toys” with surprising physical properties? Tadashi Tokieda discusses his roundabout career path and the passions that motivate his work with his fellow mathematician Steven Strogatz this week on “The Joy of x” podcast.
https://www.quantamagazine.org/tag/the-joy-of-x/

###### Tadashi Tokieda audiogram 1 for "The Joy of x" podcast

The mathematician Tadashi Tokieda of Stanford University loves a certain kind of “magic trick” in which he does nothing and nature reveals something amazing. It’s part of what feeds his passion for fascinating “toys” that illuminate secrets of the physical world. This week on “The Joy of x” podcast, Tokieda shares some of his favorite toys with host Steven Strogatz and talks about how he went from being an artist to a language scholar to a mathematician.
https://www.quantamagazine.org/tag/the-joy-of-x/