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Posts Tagged "literature"


Best Summer Books: SA‘s Picks and Yours

reading in the park

All year long Scientific American editors, bloggers and contributors mull over and write about recently published science books worth reading. These works cover everything from ancient quantum computing to surviving a mass extinction. The “Recommended” page in our magazine offers monthly reviews; we have a “Books” section on our Web site that features our eBooks [...]

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Roots of Unity

What T.S. Eliot Told Me about the Chain Rule

T.S. Eliot, who probably never thought about the chain rule while he was writing poetry. Photograph by Lady Ottoline Morrell. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

“We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time.” —from Little Gidding by T.S. Eliot If you took calculus in high school or college, you might remember the chain rule. One of the main topics in calculus [...]

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Roots of Unity

What Is the Funniest Number?

A triangle, heptagon, and 42-sided polygon meet at a vertex. Image: Dllu, via Wikimedia Commons

“There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, [...]

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Can You Scaiku?

naturally dyed easter eggs

A couple weeks ago, I was reminded how much I enjoy the poetry format known as haiku. On a whim, I threw out a tweet soliciting #scaiku, science-themed haiku, to see what delights my tweeps would come up with. Some made me laugh out loud: This one time at lab we dropped acid and then [...]

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