Mathematics
13 articles
A Travel Guide for the Fourth Dimension
Say goodbye to stable orbits and knotted shoelaces. 
How to Build a Search Engine for Mathematics
The surprising power of Neil Sloane’s Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences. 
Will the Earth Ever Fill Up?
We’ve predicted and broken human population limits for centuries. 
How Math’s Most Famous Proof Nearly Broke
Andrew Wiles thought he had a solution to an ageold puzzle. Until it began to unravel. 
In Mathematics, Mistakes Aren’t What They Used to Be
Computers can’t invent, but they’re changing the field anyway.

The Illusion Machine That Teaches Us How We See
A mathematician is using computers to manufacture awardwinning illusions.

The Most Symmetrical Objects in the World
If you’ve ever tried to give yourself a haircut, you know just how hard it is to make something precisely symmetrical. We value symmetry so highly in part because it’s really hard to achieve. Here are five of the most symmetrical objects humans have ever crafted, and why they were so hard to make.1. Gravity […]

Impossible Cookware and Other Triumphs of the Penrose Tile
Infinite patterns that never repeat have moved from fantasy to reality.

Best of 2013: The Man Who Invented Modern Probability
Chance encounters in the life of Andrei Kolmogorov.

The Math Trick Behind MP3s, JPEGs, and Homer Simpson’s Face
This theoretical physicist’s idea has an astounding legacy. 
Purest of the Purists: The Puzzling Case of Grigori Perelman
Grigori Perelman became famous, despite his adamant opposition, for proving a conjecture from Henri Poincaré, pictured here. In November 2002, a Russian mathematician named Grigori Perelman posted the first of three short preprints to the arXiv (an online repository for drafts of academic papers in math and science), offering a proof for the famous Poincare […]