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September 24 2013

3,000 Years of Human History, Described in One Set of Mathematical Equations


Most people think of history as a series of stories—tales of one army unexpectedly defeating another, or a politician making a memorable speech, or an upstart overthrowing a sitting monarch.

Peter Turchin of the University of Connecticut sees things rather differently. Formally trained as a ecologist, he sees history as a series of equations. Specifically, he wants to bring the types of mathematical models used in fields such as wildlife ecology to explain population trends in a different species: humans.

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