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Stephen Wolfram Named R&D 2002 Scientist of the Year

Published December 12, 2002

December 12, 2002–Stephen Wolfram, creator of Mathematica, founder of Wolfram Research, and author of this year’s best-selling book A New Kind of Science (NKS), was recently selected as R&D Magazine’s 37th Annual Scientist of the Year. He accepted his award at the R&D Top 100 ceremonies in Chicago and is featured on the cover of the magazine’s November 2002 issue, which has an accompanying nine-page spread about the man and his achievements.

“His combination of scientific, commercial, and entrepreneurial endeavors, all aimed at advancing the state of technical computing, have made lasting impressions on the R&D community and in every regard [he is] worthy of being our Scientist of the Year,” reads the opening citation by Tim Studt, Editor in Chief of R&D Magazine.

The lead article focuses primarily on Wolfram–his history, present efforts, future plans, and the driving forces behind them–while supporting articles spotlight NKS as the impetus for the award, Mathematica as the software that started it all, and Wolfram Research as the thriving company he created. “While to some, his current situation may appear to be the culmination of nearly 40 years of education and research, I’m sure that Wolfram himself would refer to it as a beginning of a new way of looking at scientific events and proving cause-and-effect relationships,” Studt notes.

In summarizing why there was “no finer example” than Wolfram this year of what their magazine viewed as a Scientist of the Year, R&D states , “Wolfram enjoys challenges and most often the challenge in life is changing things. Changing the way that researchers do mathematics, changing the way that math is taught, changing the way that mathematics is supported to the R&D community, and just recently, changing the way that the world views science.” The article goes on to say, “Oh, and by the way, all of those changes have been for the better.”