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From the archives

Our Violent National Game

The great hockey debate continues

Pax Atlantica

NATO’s long-lasting relevance

David Orrell

David Orrell is a writer and applied mathematician. His latest book is Truth or Beauty: Science and the Quest for Order (Oxford University Press, 2012).

Articles by
David Orrell

An Imperfect Truth

Immutable laws can’t capture the universe’s messy complexity April 2015
When the Perimeter Institute—a physics research institute in Waterloo, Ontario—decided several years ago to build an extension, they asked the architects “to provide the optimal environment for the human mind to conceive of the universe.” Clearly the results were effective. One of the founding faculty members, Lee Smolin, and the Harvard philosopher Roberto Mangabeira Unger have conceived of the…

Blind Oracles

Researchers have developed models to predict everything from earthquakes to pandemics. The trouble is, they don't work January–February 2010
Humankind has always wanted to predict the future. It seems we are genetically inclined to want to find out what is coming up around the next corner. This is especially true of scientists, many of whom believe that prediction is the real aim, and the best test, of any scientific theory. Just ask the writers of those leaked emails from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research…