Searching for Order in the Universe

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Original Air Date: 
August 08, 2020

When things don't go the way they're supposed to — viruses, star systems, presidents, even fish — we're often desperate to explain the chaos. In this episode, we search for order in the universe.

Eel
Articles

Eels are philosophically and scientifically slippery — they're still some of the most mysterious creatures on the planet. Journalist Patrik Svensson has been obsessed with them, and wound up writing a surprise bestseller — “The Book of Eels.”

Length: 
13:43
fish
Articles

Lulu Miller's book “Why Fish Don’t Exist” — which examines ichthyologist David Starr Jordan — is a meditation on the shadow side of scientific classification, and the dangers of trying too hard to impose order on chaos.

Length: 
12:01
Audio

Putting aside the question of whether there's any validity to it, the ancient science of astrology has a lot in common with contemporary data science. In fact, data scientist Alexander Boxer calls astrology humanity’s very first set of algorithms.

Length: 
8:25
Math of the universe
Video

For centuries, people have considered mathematics the purest form of knowledge — and our best bet for deciphering the universe's hidden order. Steve spoke with two people who love math: physicist James Gates and science writer Margaret Wertheim.

Length: 
14:59
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Last modified: 
October 20, 2020