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Distinguished Mathematician Stephen Wolfram to Visit in February

Award-winning mathematician and physicist Stephen Wolfram will speak to the community about his experience as the CEO of his successful company, WolframAlpha. Dr. Wolfram, who was invited to campus by Meghana Vunnamadala ’12 and Jade Moon ’13, will speak after dinner on February 19.

While the majority of the speakers who come to campus specialize in the humanities, Dr. Wolfram brings another story thanks to his combined knowledge of complex mathematics, science, and business.

Dr. Wolfram received his Ph.D. in particle physics from the California Institute of Technology at the age of 20, and joined the faculty at the age of 21. Dr. Wolfram has, since 1982, studied the theory of Cellular Automata, a theory in which simple rules can result in complex behavior since 1982. Later, he created computer program Mathematica and founded WolframAlpha.

“In our Advanced Calculus and Differential Equations class, [math teacher Richard] Mr. Bonanno allows students to use Dr. Wolfram’s program, Mathematica, extensively in class. Meghana and I were inspired by Mr. Merwin’s visit in October to contact Dr. Wolfram and bring him to campus,” explained Moon.

Moon and Vunnamadala hope Dr. Wolfram’s lecture will expose the Deerfield community to the wonders of current mathematic studies. “I also think it is beneficial to show the students that they can pursue a career in both mathematics/science and business. He could show us that these two seemingly different fields can mold and become one,” commented Vunnamadala.

Though all students are strongly encouraged to go see Dr. Wolfram’s lecture, only students in AP math classes are required to go.

“He speaks at a very high and sophisticated level, and the AP or older levels/students can appreciate his advanced work more,” noted math teacher Nils Ahbel.

“Dr. Wolfram seems like a complex puzzle, so it would be interesting to see him with my own eyes. In addition, his personality and achievements are so intriguing,” reflected Christina Pil ’12.

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