Category Archives: science

World3, the public beta

Forty years ago I had my first close encounter with mathematical models of doomsday. The Limits to Growth, published in the spring of 1972, offered a grim vision of environmental and economic collapse, based on the implacable logic of a … Continue reading

Posted in computing, featured, science | 6 Comments

The acceleration of history

Four hundred years ago, the idea that the Earth goes around the Sun rather than vice versa was not just a scientific breakthrough but also a cultural bombshell. People were asked to reimagine the world they were living in. Not … Continue reading

Posted in science | 10 Comments


Several weeks ago, on the morning after the first winter storm here in the Boston area, I wrote about some peculiar snow geometry on porch railings. Now, following another storm (which I wish I could believe might be the last … Continue reading

Posted in problems and puzzles, science | 4 Comments

How I didn’t invent the memristor

The memristor is a new electronic component, an addition to the family of “passive” circuit elements—a family that for well over 150 years had just three members: the resistor, the capacitor and the inductor. Enthusiasts for memristor technology argue that … Continue reading

Posted in science, technology | 3 Comments

Sic transit

The tattered magazine shown above was on newsstands 60 years ago. You could have bought a copy for 50 cents—which wasn’t cheap at the time. The article featured on the cover, “Mathematical Machines,” surveys the whole topic of computational technology, … Continue reading

Posted in science | 13 Comments