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Stephen Wolfram joins our Advisory Board, becoming our 1,600th member. He joins Ray Kurzweil, Nobel Laureates Eric S. Maskin and Wole Soyinka, and many other luminaries, to participate in the Lifeboat Foundation goal of "Safeguarding Humanity".
The Lifeboat Foundation Advisory Board is broken up into 38 subboards
ranging from Human Trajectories to Particle Physics to Space Settlement
and has developed 26 programs ranging from a BioShield program to a
NanoShield Program to a SecurityPreserver Program. More information
about these programs is available at lifeboat.com/ex/programs.
The Lifeboat Foundation is developing a world-class think tank with a
rich cognitive diversity of philosophers, economists, biologists,
nanotechnologists, AI researchers, educators, policy experts, engineers,
lawyers, ethicists, futurists, neuroscientists, physicists, space
experts, and other top thinkers to help humanity survive existential
risks and possible misuse of increasingly powerful technologies,
including genetic engineering, nanotechnology, and robotics/AI, as we
move towards the Singularity.
Unlike most organizations, whose advisory boards are too small to do
more than provide some advice, our think tank provides action as well as
words. Our board members have developed programs, created reports,
donated money, fueled our blog, created educational videos, joined our
staff, launched numerous forums, organized events, and provided input on
a range of issues from web design to grant proposals to ideas for new
areas that Lifeboat Foundation should be involved in.
Stephen Wolfram, Ph.D. is a distinguished scientist, inventor, author,
and business leader. He is the creator of Mathematica, the author of A
New Kind of Science, the creator of Wolfram|Alpha, and the founder and
CEO of Wolfram Research.
Born in London in 1959, Stephen was educated at Eton, Oxford, and
Caltech. He published his first scientific paper at the age of 15, and
earned his Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Caltech by the age of 20.
His early scientific work was mainly in high-energy physics, quantum
field theory, and cosmology, and included several now-classic results.
Having started to use computers in 1973, he rapidly became a leader in
the emerging field of scientific computing, and in 1979 he began the
construction of SMP — the first modern computer algebra system — which
he released commercially in 1981.
In recognition of his early work in physics and computing, Stephen
became in 1981 the youngest recipient of a MacArthur Prize Fellowship.
Late in 1981 he then set out on an ambitious new direction in science
aimed at understanding the origins of complexity in nature. His first
key idea was to use computer experiments to study the behavior of simple
computer programs known as cellular automata. And starting in 1982 this
allowed him to make a series of startling discoveries about the origins
of complexity. The papers Stephen published quickly had a major impact,
and laid the groundwork for the emerging field that he called "complex
Through the mid-1980s, he continued his work on complexity, discovering
a number of fundamental connections between computation and nature, and
inventing such concepts as computational irreducibility. His work led to
a wide range of applications — and provided the main scientific
foundations for such initiatives as complexity theory and artificial
life. Stephen himself used his ideas to develop a new randomness
generation system and a new approach to computational fluid dynamics —
both of which are now in widespread use.
Following his scientific work on complex systems research, in 1986
Stephen founded the first research center and the first journal in the
field, Complex Systems. Then, after a highly successful career in
academia — first at Caltech, then at the Institute for Advanced Study in
Princeton, and finally as Professor of Physics, Mathematics, and
Computer Science at the University of Illinois — he launched Wolfram
Stephen began the development of Mathematica in late 1986. The first
version of Mathematica was released on June 23, 1988, and was
immediately hailed as a major advance in computing. In the years that
followed, the popularity of Mathematica grew rapidly, and Wolfram
Research became established as a world leader in the software industry,
widely recognized for excellence in both technology and business.
Currently at Version 8, Mathematica has become the definitive software
environment for science and technology.
In 1991, he began to divide his time between Mathematica development and
scientific research. Building on his work from the mid-1980s, and now
with Mathematica as a tool, he made a rapid succession of major new
discoveries. By the mid-1990s his discoveries led him to develop a
fundamentally new conceptual framework, which he then spent the
remainder of the 1990s applying not only to new kinds of questions, but
also to many existing foundational problems in physics, biology,
computer science, mathematics, and several other fields.
After more than ten years of highly concentrated work, Stephen finally
described his achievements in his 1200-page book A New Kind of Science.
Released on May 14, 2002, the book was widely acclaimed and immediately
became a bestseller. Its publication has been seen as initiating a
paradigm shift of historic importance in science, with new implications
emerging at an increasing rate every year.
He has been president and CEO of Wolfram Research since its founding in
1987. In addition to his business leadership, he is deeply involved in
the development of the company's technology. He is personally
responsible for overseeing all aspects of the functional design of the
core Mathematica technology. He also directs the design and development
of pioneering projects, such as Wolfram|Alpha, which was launched in
2009 as a long-term project to make as much of the world's knowledge as
possible computable, and accessible to everyone.
Stephen has a lifelong commitment to research and education. In addition
to providing software for a generation of scientists and students, His
company maintains some of the web's most visited sites for technical
information. He is also increasingly active in defining new directions
for education, especially in the science he has created.
For more information about the Lifeboat Foundation Advisory Board, visit
About Lifeboat Foundation
The Lifeboat Foundation is a nonprofit nongovernmental organization
dedicated to encouraging scientific advancements while helping humanity
survive existential risks and possible misuse of increasingly powerful
technologies, including genetic engineering, nanotechnology, and
robotics/AI, as we move towards the Singularity.
For more information, please click here
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