Stephen Wolfram Livestreams


History of Science & Technology Q&A (74 videos)

Biweekly ask-me-anything about the history of science & technology

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New episode streaming Wednesday, June 26, at 3:30pm ET. Submit your questions

History of Science & Technology Q&A:
Can you talk about the history of hearts? Why does the human heart not resemble the heart shape seen most commonly in other forms? How did scientists discover the brain and its purpose? When did this happen? What about the theories that say that neither the brain nor anything else in the body is the "site of consciousness" (e.g. "the brain is just a receiver")? There's at least some stuff there that can't be easily dismissed. ​​Any thoughts on Panini, who wrote a meta-rule to decode the rule conflicts in the linguistic algorithm? How has technology influenced the development and preservation of languages? Why did the Latin language "die"? Do you think it would be widely used if it had survived? The Pirahã, a tribe in Brazil, have a very peculiar way of talking. They don't include numbers and time, if I understand. How do linguists reconstruct ancient languages they have little direct evidence of?​ ​​Would the Greek spoken at the time of Aristotle be fully intelligible to speakers of modern Greek? How did accents and dialects evolve (for example, UK English vs. US English)​? The reconstructed 1700s London accent sounds somewhat American, I thought? ​​Are there still undiscovered writing systems to be discovered? ​​Do you have any comments on the relationship scientists have had with the philosophy of science? ​​If one views religion as a function whose input is belief and output is explanation of "the unknown," then could science ("many universes" in quantum theory, for example) be construed as such? View Less »
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History of Science & Technology Q&A:
History of Science & Technology Q&A:
How often do separate ideas emerge (like convergent evolution) and merge to either compliment each other or "make whole" ideas that didn't have all the answers themselves? What surprises you most about the history of science and technology? What is there to learn? What's the history of timekeeping? How did civilizations create the calendar and clocks? What science supports this? How would you keep track of time/sync up your devices? Today it's easy with electronic devices. I'm imagining my microwave and stove clock always being a minute or two out of sync from manually setting it. How did you get to know so much, and in such depth, about such vastly disparate historical topics? Seems this could be fascinating to hear about in and of itself. Makes me think that maybe blockchains are the evolution of agreed-upon ledgers in one single agreed-upon time. Do you think the Fourier transform is fundamental to nature? Historically, it appears in quantum field theory, quantum computing, signal processing, etc. When did time become an important variable in science?​ Why do you suppose no one tried to continue with Nikola Tesla's incomplete inventions?​ As a software engineer, I discover elegant academic programming languages all the time, but they never seem to gain much traction in industry. On the other hand, we have languages like JavaScript, which was pretty much developed as a prototype but is now ubiquitous in web development. I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on this history of "organic" development of programming languages. Are there any pros to using "historical" technology, or is newer always better? View Less »
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History of Science & Technology Q&A:
History of Science & Technology Q&A:
History of Science & Technology Q&A: