Posts from 2020

The Wolfram Physics Project:
The First Two Weeks

First, Thank You!

We launched the Wolfram Physics Project two weeks ago, on April 14. And, in a word, wow! People might think that interest in fundamental science has waned. But the thousands of messages we’ve received tell a very different story. People really care! They’re excited. They’re enjoying understanding what we’ve figured out. They’re appreciating the elegance of it. They want to support the project. They want to get involved.

It’s tremendously encouraging—and motivating. I wanted this project to be something for the world—and something lots of people could participate in. And it’s working. Our livestreams—even very technical ones—have been exceptionally popular. We’ve had lots of physicists, mathematicians, computer scientists and others asking questions, making suggestions and offering help. We’ve had lots of students and others who tell us how eager they are to get into doing research on the project. And we’ve had lots of people who just want to tell us they appreciate what we’re doing. So, thank you!

The Wolfram Physics Project: The First Two Weeks Continue reading

Finally We May Have a Path to the Fundamental Theory of Physics…
and It’s Beautiful

Visual summary of the Wolfram Physics Project

I Never Expected This

It’s unexpected, surprising—and for me incredibly exciting. To be fair, at some level I’ve been working towards this for nearly 50 years. But it’s just in the last few months that it’s finally come together. And it’s much more wonderful, and beautiful, than I’d ever imagined.

In many ways it’s the ultimate question in natural science: How does our universe work? Is there a fundamental theory? An incredible amount has been figured out about physics over the past few hundred years. But even with everything that’s been done—and it’s very impressive—we still, after all this time, don’t have a truly fundamental theory of physics.

Back when I used do theoretical physics for a living, I must admit I didn’t think much about trying to find a fundamental theory; I was more concerned about what we could figure out based on the theories we had. And somehow I think I imagined that if there was a fundamental theory, it would inevitably be very complicated. Continue reading

How We Got Here: The Backstory of the Wolfram Physics Project

The Wolfram Physics Project


I’ve been saying it for decades: “Someday I’m going to mount a serious effort to find the fundamental theory of physics.” Well, I’m thrilled that today “someday” has come, and we’re launching the Wolfram Physics Project. And getting ready to launch this project over the past few months might be the single most intellectually exciting time I’ve ever had. So many things I’d wondered about for so long getting solved. So many exciting moments of “Surely it can’t be that simple?” And the dawning realization, “Oh my gosh, it’s actually going to work!”

Physics was my first great intellectual passion. And I got started young, publishing my first paper when I was 15. I was lucky enough to be involved in physics in one of its golden ages, in the late 1970s. Not that I was trying to find a fundamental theory of physics back then. Like essentially all physicists, I spent my time on the hard work of figuring out the consequences of the theories we already had.

But doing that got me progressively more involved with computers. And then I realized: computation is its own paradigm. There’s a whole way of thinking about the world using the idea of computation. And it’s very powerful, and fundamental. Maybe even more fundamental than physics can ever be. And so it was that I left physics, and began to explore the computational universe: in a sense the universe of all possible universes. Continue reading