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London’s Bethlem Hospital illustration

INHERIT THE DATA  King George III’s descent into madness sparked efforts to untangle the inheritance of mental illness by analyzing patient records at insane asylums (London’s Bethlem Hospital is shown in this 1735 illustration). A new book discusses how big data and statistics long dominated the study of human heredity.

illustration of numbers

REALLY REAL  The mathematical ideal of real numbers might not appropriately represent the reality of the real world, says physicist Nicolas Gisin.

Tropical Storm Harvey

MATH GETS REAL  Chaos theory explains why it’s so difficult to predict weather — a small change in conditions at any point in time can have a large effect on future conditions in, for example, a hurricane’s trajectory (Tropical Storm Harvey shown).

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