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Stephen Wolfram

From Academic Kids

Stephen Wolfram (born August 29, 1959 in London) is a scientist known for his work in particle physics, cellular automata and computer algebra, and is the author of the computer program Mathematica.

Wolfram's father, Hugo Wolfram, was a novelist and his mother, Sybil Wolfram, was a professor of philosophy at Oxford. Wolfram was educated at the exclusive Eton public school. Often described as a child prodigy (though he says he had difficulty with arithmetic as a child), he published an article on particle physics at age 15 and entered Oxford (St John's College) at age 17. He received his Ph.D. in particle physics from Caltech at age 20 and joined the faculty there. At age 21, Wolfram won the MacArthur "Genius" award.

He developed a computer algebra system at Caltech, but the school's patent rules denied him ownership of the invention. He left for the School of Natural Sciences of The Institute For Advanced Study, where he studied cellular automata, mainly with computer simulations.

Wolfram left for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and started to develop the computer algebra system Mathematica in 1986, to be released in 1988. He founded a company, Wolfram Research, which continues to extend the program and market it with considerable success. Wolfram Research also pays Eric W. Weisstein to work on his math encyclopedia MathWorld, which is hosted at the company's web site.

From 1992 to 2002, Wolfram worked on his controversial book A New Kind of Science, which introduced and justified the study of simple, abstract systems of the type easily embodied as simple computer programs. Additionally, it argued that for fundamental reasons these types of systems, rather than traditional mathematics, are needed to model and understand complexity in nature. The book has widely received both criticism and praise. Some critics have declaimed improper footnoting, vagueness, eschewing peer review, and having a flawed premise. The book has an online version which is available for free viewing.

External links

es:Stephen Wolfram fr:Stephen Wolfram he:סטיבן וולפרם nl:Stephen Wolfram zh:斯蒂芬·沃尔夫勒姆

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