History of science


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Future of technology
The golden quarter

Some of our greatest cultural and technological achievements took place between 1945 and 1971. Why has progress stalled?

Michael Hanlon

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Human reproduction
The macho sperm myth

The idea that millions of sperm are on an Olympian race to reach the egg is yet another male fantasy of human reproduction

Robert D Martin

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Economics
The new astrology

By fetishising mathematical models, economists turned economics into a highly paid pseudoscience

Alan Jay Levinovitz

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Future of technology
Hail the maintainers

Capitalism excels at innovation but is failing at maintenance, and for most lives it is maintenance that matters more

Andrew Russell & Lee Vinsel

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Mathematics
The problem with p-values

Academic psychology and medical testing are both dogged by unreliability. The reason is clear: we got probability wrong

David Colquhoun

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Biology
Does life have a purpose?

Nobody expects atoms and molecules to have purposes, so why do we still think of living things in this way?

Michael Ruse

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Physics
Minding matter

The closer you look, the more the materialist position in physics appears to rest on shaky metaphysical ground

Adam Frank

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Cognition and intelligence
Cognitive celebrity

Albert Einstein was a genius, but he wasn’t the only one – why has his name come to mean something superhuman?

Matthew Francis

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Cultures and languages
Absolute English

Science once communicated in a polyglot of tongues, but now English rules alone. How did this happen – and at what cost?

Michael D Gordin

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Information and communication
The bit bomb

It took a polymath to pin down the true nature of ‘information’. His answer was both a revelation and a return

Rob Goodman & Jimmy Soni

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Mathematics
The chords of the Universe

It’s no surprise that mathematics has influenced music. But did you know that the influence goes both ways?

Eli Maor

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Quantum theory
Quantum common sense

Despite its confounding reputation, quantum mechanics both guides and helps explain human intuition

Philip Ball

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History of ideas
The sun does not rise

How magical thinking haunts our everyday language, and fossilised ideas live on in even the most sophisticated science

Andrew Crumey

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Stories and literature
Thus spake Albert

You probably know a quote from him. He probably never said it. How did Einstein become a touchstone of all that is wise?

Andrew Robinson

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History of science
Forging Islamic science

Fake miniatures depicting Islamic science have found their way into the most august of libraries and history books. How?

Nir Shafir

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Evolution
Evolution unleashed

Is evolutionary science due for a major overhaul – or is talk of ‘revolution’ misguided?

Kevin Laland

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History of science
Mathematics as thought

Mathematical ideas are some of the most transformative and beautiful in history. So why do they get so little attention?

Mordechai Levy-Eichel

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Thinkers and theories
The American Aristotle

Charles Sanders Peirce was a brilliant philosopher, mathematician and scientist. His polymathic work should be better known

Daniel Everett

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History of science
No absolute time

Two centuries before Einstein, Hume recognised that universal time, independent of an observer’s viewpoint, doesn’t exist

Matias Slavov

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Economics
Economics is quantum

Money and brains are both quantum phenomena – so it’s not surprising that economics is overdue for a quantum revolution

David Orrell