'A New Kind of Science':

'A New Kind of Science': You Know That Space-Time Thing? Never Mind
Sunday NY Times Book Review
By GEORGE JOHNSON

For more than a decade, Wolfram, a theoretical physicist turned millionaire software entrepreneur, has been laboring in solitude on a work that, he has promised, will change the way we see the world.

From the very beginning of this meticulously constructed
manifesto, the reader is presented with a stunning proposal: all
the science we know will be demolished and reassembled. An
ancient error will be corrected, one so profoundly misguided
that it has led science down the wrong avenue, until it is
approaching a cul-de-sac. The mistake (as everyone who hated
calculus will be happy to hear) is trying to capture the
richness of the universe with mathematical equations --
Newton's, Maxwell's, Einstein's. All are based on an abstract,
perhaps dubious idea -- that time and space form a seamless
continuum. Whether dealing with an inch or a second, you can
chop it in half and the half in half, ad infinitum. Thus things
can be described with unlimited, infinitesimal precision.

Wolfram contends that this, the common wisdom, gets things
upside down: the algorithm is the pure, elemental expression of
nature; the equation is an artifice. That is because the
continuum is a fiction. Time doesn't flow, it ticks. Space is
not a surface but a grid. A world like this is best described
not by equations but by simple step-by-step procedures. By
computer programs.


Posted by Jay Cross at June 12, 2002 03:23 PM | TrackBack
Comments

Cool... a nice blog.

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