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In his study of hanging, Haughton considered an account in the Odyssey in which Homer described how 12 faithless handmaids of Penelope were hanged.

Samuel Haughton was born in Co Carlow in 1821. He entered Trinity College Dublin aged just 16 and graduated in 1843. He was elected a fellow in 1844 a(...)

Benford’s law can reveal highly unlikely frequencies of numbers in a dataset. It has been used to detect fraud in elections and tampering with digital images. Photograph: iStock

The irregular distribution of the first digits of numbers in databases provides a valuable tool for fraud detection. A remarkable rule that applies to(...)

The requirement to limit noise was one of the factors leading to the development of high-bypass turbofan engines to replace older turbojets.

If you have ever tried to sleep under a flightpath near an airport, you will know how serious the problem of aircraft noise can be. It is among the l(...)

A French stamp issued to commemorate the work of Sophie Germain

When a guitar string is plucked, we don’t see waves travelling along the string. This is because the ends are fixed. Instead, we see a standing-wave p(...)

Anyone who lives by the sea is familiar with the regular ebb and flow of the tides. But we all live at the bottom of an ocean of air. The atmosphere, (...)

The double helix; the distinguishing chanaracteristic of DNA.

Soon it will be time to pack away the fairy lights. If you wish to avoid the knotty task of disentangling them next December, don’t just throw them in(...)

Cake cutting may sound limited, but it is important for many practical problems. Photograph: iStock/Getty Images

As Christmas approaches, the question of fair sharing comes into focus. Readers can rejoice that there has been a recent breakthrough in cake-cutting (...)

The Gran Sasso National Laboratory in Italy, the largest underground laboratory in the world devoted to neutrino and astroparticle physics. Photograph: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images

Although abstract in character, mathematics has concrete origins: the greatest advances have been inspired by the natural world. Recently, a new resul(...)

Increasing security threats have led to higher needs for detection and for increased efficiencies at airport baggage checks

When you check in your baggage for a flight, it must be screened before it is allowed on the plane. Baggage screening detects threats within luggage a(...)

The Princeton Companion to Mathematic has articles on the origin of mathematics, its historical development and the main branches of the subject.

No one person can have mastery of the entirety of mathematics. The subject has become so vast that the best that can be achieved is a general understa(...)

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