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Wolfram's Law

Nate Orenstam
Monday, May 27, 2002

Related News:

Everyone Else Is An Idiot

The Doctor Is In...(Champaign, Illinois) With the publication of his new all-encompassing book, "A New Kind of Science", mathematics guru Stephen Wolfram has revealed a new scientific theory that unifies the fields of mathematics, physics, biology, chemistry, and mini-golf. "After twenty years of study, I've finally discovered the true unifying theory of the universe," Wolfram explained. "Everyone else is an idiot. As a mathematical genius, I long suspected this. But now, I've got the proof, and the money, to back up my theories." Wolfram's 1200 page book purports to explain everything from the origin of the species to the shape of Kirsten's Dunst's parabolic curves. "I don't want to be immodest, but I think if you review history you'll see that neither Galileo nor Newton ever took this long to publish a book. And their contribution in the world of software was just pathetic. Don't even get me started."

Wolfram, long considered the enfant terrible of the science community, began his career by publishing his first paper on particle physics at the age of 15 ("Why I'm Smarter than Einstein"). At the age of 20, Wolfram received a PhD in Theoretical Physics from Caltech ("Why I Theoretically Can't Get a Date") and at the age of 21 became the youngest person to receive a MacArthur Fellowship "genius award" for arrogance. By the age of 27 he had already alienated himself from every major academic discipline and university, yet he remained undeterred. "In many fields, a lack of social skills coupled with an outsized ego can be a problem. But in the computer industry, these are considered virtues," Wolfram said. He siezed the opportunity to build Mathematica, a software program published by his company Wolfram Research. "Besides, I wasn't getting invited to the physics conferences anymore," he added.

Mathematica became a success in the staid arena of mathematical software earning Wolfram millions of dollars in the process. Finally, Wolfram had the financial resources to conquer his biggest challenge; at the age of 29, he had his first date. "I just made it one of the receptionists' job duties," Wolfram said. "Unfortunately, she quit before the date reached its mathematical apex, so to speak."

Not A Lot of Parties

In the early 1990s, with Mathematica a success, Wolfram dropped out of the scientific community for ten years to work on his research full time. Other than the occasional board meeting and a brief stint on Seinfeld, Wolfram was completely dedicated to his work. "Still, it would have been nice if they'd call from the office once in a while. They didn't even invite me to my own company Christmas party, for crying out loud. What else was there to do but write?" Wolfram said.

Now at the age of 42, Wolfram's opus has become the number one bestseller on Amazon.com with tens of thousands of copies being shipped throughout the Urbana-Champaign area. "I wish I'd had this book when I was a lad at Eton," Wolfram said. "Even if you don't read it, at 6 pounds, it makes a heckuva good weapon."

Wolfram is now working on several related projects including a "New Kind of Science Explorer" software module, a PlayStation video game ("Grand Theft Physics"), a musical ("Einstein, Wolfie and Me") and a guest spot on the MTV reality show "The Osbournes." Meanwhile, film rights have been acquired by Matt Damon who will turn it into a comedy action adventure starring Ben Afleck as Rule 30 Automaton.

About the author
Nate Orenstam is a leading Java programmer and consultant.

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