Figuring the Future: Numbers Made Real

Creating something out of math models is difficult. Creating something useful is genius. Here are some who did

A Perfect Weld

Creating a New Construct

In 1973, during China's Cultural Revolution, Pingsha Dong, originally from Dalian, was transplanted for re-education into the hinterland, where the schools reduced the curriculum to communist rote. Before he left, his father told him that no matter what the risk, "you need to learn." So, after 16 hours in the field each day, Dong stole away at night with a kerosene lamp to pore over two math and physics books his father had salvaged for him. Eventually the authorities caught on to Dong's reading, but since he disguised his books to resemble Mao's Little...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!