One of the most abstract fields in math finds application in the 'real' world

By Julie Rehmeyer, 10:02 AM May 20, 2013

Every pure mathematician has experienced that awkward moment when asked, “So what’s your research good for?” There are standard responses: a proud “Nothing!”; an explanation that mathematical research is an art form like, say, Olympic gymnastics (with a much smaller audience); or a stammered response that so much of pure math has ended up finding application that maybe, perhaps, someday, it will turn out to be useful.

That last possibility is now proving itself to be dramatically true in th...

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