brandondedicant (brandondedicant) wrote,

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Cliodynamics: The mathematical science of history

Mathematician Peter Turchin is putting his genius to work in a novel new area: history.  By studying population sizes in relation to collective violence in empires, he's managing to predict periods of civil unrest.  He calls his new science cliodynamics, after Clio, the muse of history.

There is much to be wary of in this; history is not easily reduced to numbers.  Turchin does not deny oversimplifying history, but he says ultimately if the predictions hold true there's got to be something to it.  He's made some falsifiable predictions for unrest in America around 2020, and if it doesn't happen by 2030, he'll admit he was wrong.

Calculated violence: Numbers that predict revolutions   New Scientist
Tags: history, news, science
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