PETER TURCHIN thinks he can see the future. Unlike the fortune teller you might find at a seaside carnival, he needs no crystal ball. Instead, the tools of his trade are mathematics and testable theories. Armed with these, his goal is nothing less than to revolutionise the study of history, turning it from a mass of anecdotes into a rigorous, predictive science.
Turchin calls his new discipline cliodynamics, after Clio, the classical Greek muse of history, and so far its biggest focus has been the fate of empires. Now Turchin is using patterns he has found underlying their rise and fall to make predictions of political changes to come.
As usual, Asimov has (finally) been proved a visionary. And if you want your new born boy to grow up famous, you might want to name him Hari Seldon.