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The Subtle Art of the Mathematical Conjecture
It’s an educated guess, not a proof. But a good conjecture will guide math forward, pointing the way into the mathematical unknown.
What the Sight of a Black Hole Means to a Black Hole Physicist
The astrophysicist Janna Levin reflects on the newly unveiled, first-ever photograph of a black hole.
Usain Bolt’s Split Times and the Power of Calculus
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.
Where Proof, Evidence and Imagination Intersect
In mathematics, where proofs are everything, evidence is important too. But evidence is only as good as the model, and modeling can be dangerous business. So how much evidence is enough?
The Double Life of Black Holes
Perfect black holes are versatile mathematical tools. Just don’t mistake them for the real thing.
Unscrambling the Hidden Secrets of Superpermutations
A science fiction novelist and an internet commenter made breakthroughs on a longstanding problem about the number of ways you can arrange a set of items. What did they discover?
The (Imaginary) Numbers at the Edge of Reality
Odd enough to potentially model the strangeness of the physical world, complex numbers with “imaginary” components are rooted in the familiar.
The End of Theoretical Physics as We Know It
Computer simulations and custom-built quantum analogues are changing what it means to search for the laws of nature.
How Network Math Can Help You Make Friends
Studying the structure of existing friendships in your community can help you forge the best connections when forming a new circle of friends.