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book excerpts

Alt text caption: Three images showing highly magnified images of a snowflake, red blood cells and a tardigrade.
book excerpts

What Is Life? Its Vast Diversity Defies Easy Definition.

March 9, 2021

Scientists have struggled to formulate a universal definition of life. Is it possible they don’t need one?

An artist’s conception of how sensory signals from the eye are map onto the brain in a slightly distorted way.
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The Brain Reshapes Our Malleable Senses to Fit the World

March 24, 2020

How does experience alter our perceptions? This adapted book excerpt from We Know It When We See It describes how the brain’s visual system rewires itself to make the best use of its neural resources.

Art for "Usain Bolt’s Split Times and the Power of Calculus"
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Usain Bolt’s Split Times and the Power of Calculus

April 3, 2019

Just how fast can the fastest human run? This adapted book excerpt from Infinite Powers reveals how calculus helps us investigate the nature of motion and change.

profiles

A Life in Games

August 28, 2015

The mathematician John Horton Conway’s myriad accomplishments — including the Game of Life, sprouts and the surreal numbers — are the product of a mind at play.