President Michael D Higgins at Cabra library on Tuesday. Photograph: Alan Betson

President Michael D Higgins has said that if he was allowed one wish for Ireland’s children “it would be that they would all have access to reading an(...)

Stamp featuring William Rowan Hamilton,  an innovative mathematician and physicist of the highest order

Mathematicians are not renowned for their ability to reach the deepest recesses of the human soul. This talent is usually associated with great artist(...)

John Mills and Richard Attenborough on set

This weekend, the West Cork History Festival will be hosting one of the more underrated emanations of the turbulent 1960s. Oh! What a Lovely War began(...)

US president Donald Trump. “Trump’s trade war – and his other antics – run many more risks than a mere dent to global economic growth.” Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Liberal values are under attack everywhere. It is deeply unfashionable to admit any affection for old-fashioned liberalism. Somehow, the ideas of the (...)

Losing sleep over infinity? Try reading Bertrand Russell. Photograph: Getty Images/Ikon Images

I recently overheard a couple of young boys arguing over who had scored the most goals during a football kick-around. “I scored infinity,” boasted the(...)

‘To resist work, a person has to overcome society’s moral objections to idleness.’ Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The myth of the modern workplace is that new technology and an increasingly educated workforce is redefining labour for the better. Monotonous, manual(...)

The world’s top Go player Lee Sedol (right) plays against Google’s artificial intelligence programme AlphaGo as Google DeepMind’s lead programmer Aja Huang (left) looks on during the fourth match of Google DeepMind Challenge Match in Seoul, South Korea recently. Photograph: REUTERS/Korea Baduk Association/Yonhap

Can machines think? Well, what does it mean “to think”? Thinking about thought is a journey into philosophy. Instead Alan Turing asked a different que(...)

British philosopher Bertrand Russell  (above)  and John Maynard Keynes both predicted shorter working time  in the 1930s. It has been a long time coming but maybe it is happening at last.  Photograph:  Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Last week, at a social event for senior bankers, I found myself standing in a circle with six men making small talk. As I looked around the group, I n(...)

Brave New World: has our watchfulness against a frontal attack from tyrants blind-sided us to the threat from within?

A book appeared in 1930 with a fascinating, haunting idea: a pill that replaces all human concerns and inner conflict with a mood of serene conform(...)

Detail from Rest Energy (1980), by Marina Abramovic and Ulay. Copyright Marina Abramovic and Ulay; courtesy the Sean Kelly Gallery, New York

What We Call Love: From Surrealism to Now   Works by modern and contemporary artists, including Dalí, Duchamp, Giacometti, Oppenheim, Pica(...)

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