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# history of science

## Latest Articles

### How the Square Root of 2 Became a Number

Useful mathematical concepts, like the number line, can linger for millennia before they are rigorously defined.

### The S-Matrix Is the Oracle Physicists Turn To in Times of Crisis

Particle physicists in search of the next theory of reality are consulting a mathematical structure that they know will never fail: a table of possibilities known as the S-matrix.

### How the Ancient Art of Eclipse Prediction Became an Exact Science

The timing of the total eclipse on April 8, 2024, will be known to within a second, thousands of years after fearful humans first started trying to anticipate these cosmic events.

### The (Often) Overlooked Experiment That Revealed the Quantum World

A century ago, the Stern-Gerlach experiment established the truth of quantum mechanics. Now it’s being used to probe the clash of quantum theory and gravity.

### How Math Achieved Transcendence

Transcendental numbers include famous examples like e and π, but it took mathematicians centuries to understand them.

### A Plan to Address the World’s Challenges With Math

Minhyong Kim is leading a new initiative called Mathematics for Humanity that encourages mathematicians to apply their skills to solving social problems.

### The Colorful Problem That Has Long Frustrated Mathematicians

The four-color problem is simple to explain, but its complex proof continues to be both celebrated and despised.

### How to Think About Relativity

Albert Einstein’s ideas about space-time aren’t exactly intuitive, and they aren’t exactly Einstein’s, either.

### Why Mathematicians Study Knots

Far from being an abstract mathematical curiosity, knot theory has driven many findings in math and beyond.