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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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## Community Reviews

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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

Jul 13, 2009
Alex Covic
rated it
2 of 5 stars

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

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

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

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

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.

**I sometimes read the behavior of a class 4 two-dimensional cellular automaton often known in recreational computing as the Game of Life**

I always take the title,

*A New Kind of Science*—a book on cellular automata by “outsider” scientist Stephen Wolfram that I sometimes read—in much the same way as I take the titles of Ken Wilbur’s books,

*A Theory of Everything*and

*A Brief History of Everything*; that is, as

*An Old Kind of Marketing*, one that’s aimed at the reader’s undiscerning desires to have compl...more

I harbour a healthy disrespect for peer review as the worst form of quality control, except for all the others. Peer review has an unfortunate tendency to crush what it can't improve or subsume. Excellence of a population can be increased by subtracting undistinguished individuals, without increasi...more

Well, this has been known for a long long time. Anyone doing computational science (physics, chemistry or biology) knows that most systems (generally differential equations) can be discretized and fed into computers to simulate. These simulations of course have a limit to their accuracy since they are discrete versions of more realistic continuous systems.

Wolfram seems to i...more

I actually think he has some interesting things to say about numbers and interesting, unexpected patterns in them. But I gave up on finishing this book, and so cannot evaluate any of his assertions, neither about how awesome he his, nor whether his science is new and useful.

Don't buy it. Check it out from the library, skim...more

Jan 23, 2008
Allen Price
is currently reading it

Very intriguing concepts of enormous scope. It's like having someone tell you, "You know, you could build that house from the top down a lot easier!" The concept comes from the insight of the output of a very simple computer program (one I could write myself, no less!). Being a uber-geek, Wolfram goes into volumes of detail to support his thesis. Beautiful visuals of computer printout (imagine that!) that make his case.

Frankly, I was convinced in the first few chapters, but then, I love jumping...more

Frankly, I was convinced in the first few chapters, but then, I love jumping...more

There may be much merit in the book that I couldn't get to, but it is certainly a mixe...more

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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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Nov 10, 2013 08:14AM