January of 2005, at a conference sponsored by the National Bureau of Economic Research, Lawrence Summers, then the president of Harvard, sought to address the lack of tenured female faculty in university science departments. After promising to “provoke” his audience, Summers said that a discrepancy in “intrinsic aptitude” between men and women—a biological asymmetry—might be […]

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Frank Ramsey lived as if he knew he would die young—and he did, just shy of twenty-seven. Born in 1903, he spent his shortened twenties in something of a fury, hurtling around Europe and engaging with the most exciting intellectuals of the time. His mentor, at home in Cambridge, was John Maynard Keynes, with whom […]

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Not long ago, the actor Tilda Swinton—cosmic muse to cinéastes, fashion designers, and physicists—took on another shape-shifting role as the voice of a new a planetarium film, “Phantom of the Universe: The Hunt for Dark Matter.” “As we look out into the night sky, we are both dazzled and comforted by the patches of light […]

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Orange City, the county seat of Sioux County, Iowa, is a square mile and a half of town, more or less, population six thousand, surrounded by fields in every direction. Sioux County is in the northwest corner of

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