122 results

Harvey Friedman: he has been searching for decades for a new theory, one that will introduce ‘natural’ ways for determining the best axioms

Mathematics is distinguished from the sciences by the freedom it enjoys in choosing basic assumptions from which consequences can be deduced by applyi(...)

Évariste Galois: he perished in obscurity, and it would be another 15 years before the brilliance of his work was recognised

Edna St Vincent Millay’s sonnet “Euclid alone has looked on beauty bare” evokes the ethereal, otherworldly quality of mathematics. Scandalous behaviou(...)

Mathematician Robert Langlands. Langlands program is a set of deep conjectures that attempt to forge links between algebraic and analytical objects.

There are numerous branches of mathematics, from the familiar arithmetic, geometry and algebra at an elementary level to more advanced branches such a(...)

Weather prediction models have improved dramatically in recent decades

The climate is changing, and we need to know what changes to expect and how soon to expect them. Earth system models, which simulate all relevant comp(...)

The Irish Mathematical Society, which holds its annual meeting this week, has been going strong for 45 years. Photograph: iStock

On a cold December night in 1976, a group of mathematicians assembled in a room in Trinity College Dublin for the inaugural meeting of the Irish Mathe(...)

In 1864, Kelvin estimated the Earth’s age by treating it as a sphere with molten rocks in its interior, gradually cooling by loss of heat from the surface

In 1650 the Earth was 4,654 years old. In 1864 it was 100 million years old. In 1897 the upper limit was revised to 40 million years. Currently we bel(...)

Traffic flow can be compared to the flow of gas along a pipe, where each car is analogous to a molecule of gas. Photograph: Alan Betson

Driving along the motorway on a busy day, you see brake lights ahead and slow down until the flow grinds to a halt. The traffic stutters forward for f(...)

Detail of The School of Athens by Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio), 1509, showing Pythagoras. Photograph: WIki/Creative Commons

Is space continuous or discrete? Is it smooth, without gaps or discontinuities, or granular with a limit on how small a distance can be? What about ti(...)

The space shuttle Atlantis lands at California’s Edwards Air Force Base in the Mojave Desert, February, 2001. Photograph: Tom Tschida/Handout/Reuters

Before too long, we will be relieved of the burden of long-distance driving. Given the desired destination and access to a mapping system, electronic (...)

A remarkable photograph of Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales viewed from Ireland, taken by photographer Niall O’Carroll on January 12th last using a Panasonic DMZ-TZ 100 camera from the Ben of Howth.
Seeing beyond the horizon

From a hilltop, the horizon lies below the horizontal level at an angle called the “dip”. Around 1020 AD, the brilliant Persian scholar al-Biruni use(...)

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