Category Archives: science

Cosmic eggshells

In the creation myths of certain cultures, the world began as an egg, which broke open to form the earth and the sky. What if some intrepid explorer mounted an expedition to the ends of the earth and came back … Continue reading

Posted in physics, science | 3 Comments

The rhodometer

Years ago I lived in a house with a rhododendron outside the kitchen window, which served as our family thermometer on winter mornings. If the leaves were tightly rolled, you bundled up in gloves and scarf and ski cap; if … Continue reading

Posted in modern life, science | 2 Comments

Boldface names

Strolling across Killian Court, the only sizeable patch of public grass on the MIT campus, I glanced up at the entabulature pictured above. Chiseled into the marble façade are the names of eleven celestial mechanics: astronomers and mathematicians who figured … Continue reading

Posted in mathematics, modern life, science | 1 Comment

The wisterium of memory

Every spring it’s the same story. Those pendulous clusters of pinkish purplish blossoms come droopling off a pergola in a little park around the corner, and I spend the next half hour desperately searching my memory for the word. I … Continue reading

Posted in science | 6 Comments

The Jevons Number

I was doing some reading in the history of cryptography when I came upon a reference to a 1996 article by Solomon W. Golomb. Golomb always has something interesting to say, so I had to go off and find the … Continue reading

Posted in books, computing, mathematics, science, statistics | 14 Comments