Stephen Wolfram Q&A

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Some collected questions and answers by Stephen Wolfram

Questions may be edited for brevity; see links for full questions.

May 14, 2012

From: Reddit AMA

If you were to write a Chapter 13 to the NKS book, what would it be about?

Funny you should ask… I had forgotten until recently … but actually I did start writing a “Chapter 13” … though I called it the Epilog. Its title was “The Future of the Science in This Book”.

I looked through it as I was writing my blog post today:

And actually … as I look through it now, it has some fairly interesting things to say 🙂

Note that these were never finished or polished, but here are a couple of excerpts.


  • Always try to address the most obvious questions and find the simplest examples;
  • Try to understand the root causes of things; do not be satisfied with technical explanations;
  • Do not be bound by what has been done before, but try to understand it as fully as possible;
  • Explain what you have done as clearly as possible, and with as little infrastructure as possible

Phases of the new science (when they begin): [these are my expectations]

  • Absorption: try to understand what I have done in this book (first absorption completes in 2 years; more in 5 years)
  • Make the first round of extensions: (2–3 years; finished in 10–15 years)
  • Build major new directions (15–30 years)
  • Small early stage technological applications (4–10 years)
  • Major technological applications (10–25 years)
  • Become a part of everyday thought (4–10 years)
  • Become a standard part of basic science education (15–20 years)
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