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FEATURE ARTICLE

Mathematical Induction and the Nature of British Miracles

A mathematical method of proof challenged traditional beliefs.

Daniel S. Silver

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In science, induction is the process of guessing a general law from particular instances, such as “the Sun rises every day.” In mathematics, induction is a method of proof found in the toolkit of every professional and, one hopes, every college mathematics student. It lets us establish the truth of an infinite collection of mathematical statements without having to prove each separately, laboring until the end of time. In short, induction is a tool that lets us probe the infinite, despite our disappointingly finite mortal existence.


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