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# A New Kind of Science

Physics and computer science genius Stephen Wolfram, whose Mathematica computer language launched a multimillion-dollar company, now sets his sights on a more daunting goal: understanding the universe. Wolfram lets the world see his work in

*A New Kind of Science*, a gorgeous, 1,280-page tome more than a decade in the making. With patience, insight, and self-confidence to sp ...moreHardcover, 1197 pages

Published
January 1st 2002
by Wolfram Media
(first published June 1st 1997)

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As I read through the first several pages, I was bemused by the author's arrogant and lofty tone. I was willing to give him a bit of credit, if he had any logical backup behind it.

Finished the introduction. The book makes clear its intentions: to analyze and reduce complex phenomenon to simple mathematical representations. Not bad, but hardly revolutiona ...more

Wolfram's inflated ego dominated this book so much that I found it unreadable and started skimming. What's worse is his self-aggrandizement is undeserved. Wolfram did not discover Cellular Automata, nor was he the first to see potential in them, so basically he's a pretender. In addition, others who have worked in this field have written without the egotism.

The book is short on content. There was some info there, but nothing to justify the title or the bloated lengt ...more

It was difficult to get past Wolfram's outsized ego, but I was finally able to do so by alternately considering it sympathetically (thinking of him as desperately seeking validation) and comically (his statements of priority and the importance of his work are so over the top it's really kind of entertaining). I also had some strong issues with Wolfram's discussion on natural selection, as well as his discussion of intelligence and life (he would have benefited from a read ...more

Jul 13, 2009
Alex Covic
rated it
it was ok

Recommends it for:
science students, physicians, mathematicians, computer-nerds, hackers,

*This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.*

New Kind of Science extends that work and makes ...more

The book i ...more

*This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.*

I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.

If Stephen Wolfram worked on this tome for about a decade, I hate to see what he cut it down from.

Even for a book written so as to be approachable by non-technical lay readers, this book is excessively repetitive, and verbose, and repetitive. 200 pages in and I've yet to read anything that I could identify as shockingly new or usefully foundational; nothing that I hadn't been exposed to by ...more

**"But whom was the book supposed to be for? Given all the effort I had put in, I figured that I should make it as widely accessible as possible"**, Stephen Wolfram.

I wish scientists start following Wolfram's example in publishing their simulations -in case they produce any- when addressing equations and their solutions theoretically and/or numerically in their books. One cannot overlook the fact that they keep producing a pile of redundant and repetitive ...more

A follow up would be interesting, to see how much has been accomplished pursuing the new kind of science the author propses...

Overall, I am glad I read it.

Later, I realized that most of the research in the book wasn't new, wasn't Wolfram's (or even belonging to Stephen Wolfram Inc., the actual author of the book), and often wasn't even properly science.

I still recommend the book, because it's full of interesting ideas. Just keep in mind that, to a certain extent, the way the content is ...more

Feb 13, 2012
O Danny
rated it
it was amazing

Recommends it for:
Math Majors, Science fans

Recommended to O by:
used book seller

Shelves:

As a precursor to the Wolfram Alpha search engine, this book could open the door to computational knowledge generation.

Aug 24, 2009
Bernie_dunham
rated it
it was amazing

Recommends it for:
My daughters, son-in-laws, and wife.

Shelves:

I will be deciphering Wolfram's text for the rest of my life.

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Stephen Wolfram's parents were Jewish refugees who emigrated from Germany to England in the 1930s. Wolfram's father Hugo was a textile manufacturer and novelist (Into a Neutral Country) and his mother Sybil was a professor of philosophy at the University of Oxford. He has a younger brother, Conrad. Wolfram is married to a mathematician and has four children.

He was educated at Eton College, but cla ...more

More about Stephen Wolfram...
He was educated at Eton College, but cla ...more

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“It is perhaps a little humbling to discover that we as humans are in effect computationally no more capable than cellular automata with very simple rules. But the Principle of Computational Equivalence also implies that the same is ultimately true of our whole universe.

So while science has often made it seem that we as humans are somehow insignificant compared to the universe, the Principle of Computational Equivalence now shows that in a certain sense we are at the same level as it is. For the principle implies that what goes on inside us can ultimately achieve just the same level of computational sophistication as our whole universe.”
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So while science has often made it seem that we as humans are somehow insignificant compared to the universe, the Principle of Computational Equivalence now shows that in a certain sense we are at the same level as it is. For the principle implies that what goes on inside us can ultimately achieve just the same level of computational sophistication as our whole universe.”