## What Is Benford’s Law? Why This Unexpected Pattern of Numbers Is Everywhere

A curious mathematical phenomenon called Benford’s law governs the numbers all around us

Skip to main content

Mathematics

A curious mathematical phenomenon called Benford’s law governs the numbers all around us

May 8, 2023 — Jack Murtagh | Opinion

Mathematics

A thought experiment that’s dividing mathematicians can help illuminate how belief shapes rational decisions

May 4, 2023 — Manon Bischoff

Mathematics

Information theory can help people mathematically calculate the best starting guess for a popular online game

April 28, 2023 — Manon Bischoff

Mathematics

At an American Mathematical Society meeting, high school students presented a proof of the Pythagorean theorem that used trigonometry—an approach that some once considered impossible...

April 10, 2023 — Leila Sloman

Mathematics

A new shape called an einstein has taken the math world by storm. The craggy, hat-shaped tile can cover an infinite plane with patterns that never repeat.

April 10, 2023 — Manon Bischoff

Mathematics

Math is called the “universal language,” but a unique dialect is being reborn

April 10, 2023 — Amory Tillinghast-Raby

Mathematics

Mathematician Abba Gumel uses calculations and models to prepare for future disease outbreaks

April 6, 2023 — Rachel Crowell

Mathematics

Argentine mathematician Luis Caffarelli has won the 2023 Abel Prize for making natural phenomena more understandable and eliminating dreaded “infinities” from a calculation

March 23, 2023 — Manon Bischoff

Mathematics

Luis Caffarelli’s work includes equations underpinning physical phenomena, such as melting ice and flowing liquids

March 23, 2023 — Davide Castelvecchi and Nature magazine

Mathematics

Hairiness is the perfect way to demonstrate the math underlying the “pigeonhole principle,” first conceived in 1622

March 20, 2023 — Manon Bischoff

Mathematics

Every year on Pi Day, we have a reason to celebrate one of math’s most famous symbols. But this year we speak to someone who has captured it in song.

March 14, 2023 — Jeffery DelViscio

Cognition

Plato was right: newborns do math

March 7, 2023 — Jacob Beck and Sam Clarke

Mathematics

That prime numbers and powers of 2 fascinate many people comes as no surprise. In fact, all numbers split into two camps: interesting and boring

March 3, 2023 — Manon Bischoff

Mathematics

Math made a splash this year. Here’s a look at the fascinating discoveries, mind-bending quests and important events in mathematics in 2022

December 12, 2022 — Clara Moskowitz

Mathematics

Prolific generation of data drove the need for prefixes that denote 10^{27} and 10^{30}

November 23, 2022 — Elizabeth Gibney and Nature magazine

Mathematics

Mathematician Melanie Matchett Wood seeks creative ways of solving open math problems

November 22, 2022 — Rachel Crowell

Mathematics

After shocking the mathematics community with a major result in 2013, Yitang Zhang now says he has solved an analogue of the celebrated Riemann hypothesis

November 15, 2022 — Davide Castelvecchi and Nature magazine

Mathematics

Some voting districts are tilted intentionally toward one party or another—a factor in the midterms. Geometry plays a critical role in gerrymandering

November 10, 2022 — Manon Bischoff

Mathematics

Mathematician Frank Ramsey showed how to discover coherent patterns among a multitude of number groupings

November 8, 2022 — Manon Bischoff

Mathematics

Math helps to randomly select the fairest citizens’ assemblies since antiquity

October 27, 2022 — Ariel Procaccia

**Support science journalism.**

Thanks for reading Scientific American. Knowledge awaits.

Already a subscriber? Sign in.

Thanks for reading Scientific American. Create your free account or Sign in to continue.

Create Account