Science: Folding the Perfect Corner

A young Bell scientist makes a major math breakthrough

Every day 1,200 American Airlines jets crisscross the U.S., Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean, stopping in 110 cities and bearing over 80,000 passengers. More than 4,000 pilots, copilots, flight personnel, maintenance workers and baggage carriers are shuffled among the flights; a total of 3.6 million gal. of high-octane fuel is burned. Nuts, bolts, altimeters, landing gears and the like must be checked at each destination. And while performing these scheduling gymnastics, the company must keep a close eye on costs, projected revenue and profits.

Like American Airlines, thousands of companies must routinely untangle the...

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