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history of science

Photo of various kinds and colors of dice
Abstractions blog

How and Why Computers Roll Loaded Dice

July 8, 2020

Researchers are one step closer to injecting probability into deterministic machines.

Illustration showing an austere number line on one side and various interesting objects on the the other, including a dodecahedron, an armillary sphere, flowers and plants.
Quantized Columns

The Two Forms of Mathematical Beauty

June 16, 2020

Mathematicians typically appreciate either generic or exceptional beauty in their work, but one type is more useful in describing the universe.

Q&A

The Computer Scientist Who Can’t Stop Telling Stories

April 16, 2020

For pioneering computer scientist Donald Knuth, good coding is synonymous with beautiful expression.

Animated line drawing of Margaret Hamilton, Ellen Fetter, and a Lorenz attractor
chaos theory

The Hidden Heroines of Chaos

May 20, 2019

Two women programmers played a pivotal role in the birth of chaos theory. Their previously untold story illustrates the changing status of computation in science.

Art for "What Are Feynman Diagrams?"
In Theory

How Feynman Diagrams Revolutionized Physics

May 14, 2019

In the late 1940s, Richard Feynman invented a visual tool for simplifying particle calculations that forever changed theoretical physics.

Quantized Columns

How Feynman Diagrams Almost Saved Space

July 5, 2016

Richard Feynman’s famous diagrams weren’t just a way to do calculations. They represented a deep shift in thinking about how the universe is put together.

Quantized Columns

Deep Secrets and the Thrill of Discovery

February 25, 2016

The biologist Sean B. Carroll rediscovers the scientific thrill of an unexpected revelation.

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Time’s (Almost) Reversible Arrow

January 7, 2016

The irreversibility of time may be a clue as to what makes up the universe’s dark matter.

Q&A

Science’s Path From Myth to Multiverse

March 17, 2015

In his latest book, the Nobel Prize winner Steven Weinberg explores how science made the modern world, and where it might take us from here.