Science: 600 Men & a Machine

To many a scientist the discouraging moment in life conies when his figures begin to run amok. Figures can bristle like barbed-wire barriers between his data and his conclusions. He finds that before he can get on with his work, he must multiply numbers as long as his middle finger, divide them, add them, square them, extract their roots. Sometimes a process involving a complicated equation with many variables must be repeated thousands or hundreds of thousands of times. Often the scientist gives up in despair. Many important lines of research have bogged down in a morass of figures.

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