Hypatia & Library of Alexandria

Hypatia, (born c. 355 ce—died March 415, Alexandria), mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher who lived in a very turbulent era in Alexandria’s history. She is the earliest female mathematician of whose life and work reasonably detailed knowledge exists. Hypatia was the daughter of Theon of Alexandria, himself a mathematician and astronomer and the last attested member […]

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Is Physical Law an Alien Intelligence?

Alien life could be so advanced it becomes indistinguishable from physics. Perhaps Arthur C. Clarke was being uncharacteristically unambitious. He once pointed out that any sufficiently advanced technology is going to be indistinguishable from magic. If you dropped in on a bunch of Paleolithic farmers with your iPhone and a pair of sneakers, you’d undoubtedly […]

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Luck is Predictable!

Are you lucky or unlucky? It’s not the universe or random chance that makes you that way—it’s your own thoughts and behaviors. How We Know English psychologist and author Richard Wiseman once performed a 10-year study into the science of luck. He placed ads in the newspaper calling for people who considered themselves very lucky […]

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Why there weren’t any scientists before the late nineteenth century.

It has become common practice for historians of science to admonish people who use the term scientist when applied to people who lived before the nineteenth century. They point out, correctly, that the word was first coined by Cambridge polymath William Whewell in 1833 at the British Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in […]

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The Mysterious 137

The Mysterious 137 If you have ever read Cargo Cult Science by Richard Feynman, you know that he believed that there were still many things that experts, or in this case, physicists, did not know. One of these ‘unknowns’ that he pointed out often to all of his colleagues was the mysterious number 137.  This […]

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