We owe our lives to instability - Health And Science - Santa Fe New Mexican

We owe our lives to instability - Health And Science - Santa Fe New Mexican

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We owe our lives to instability

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ROGER SNODGRASS

Science Matters

Updated

One of the toughest questions ever asked came up in 1887, when Swedish King Oscar II for his 60th birthday offered a prize for a mathematical competition that could best answer the problem of how stable the solar system is. The contest was won by Henri Poincaré, the French scientist and mathematician, who rattled the foundations of stability by concluding that the orbits of the planets around the sun were stable in a sense, but that there were different kinds of stability and, of all things, stability itself was variable.

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ROGER SNODGRASS

Science Matters

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