May 15, 2003

Originally published by Henry Holt and Company 1999. Published on KurzweilAI.net May 15, 2003.

Reading about science is like reading about food or exercise. The description can be very interesting, but it’s no substitute for the real thing. That applies to this book. In explaining what is happening I’ve made no attempt to convey or document the details. The best way to follow up is to learn something of those details.

A good starting point is the Web site for my research group, http://www.media.mit.edu/physics, and for the Things That Think consortium, http://ttt.media.mit.edu/. These have papers on many of the projects I’ve mentioned, as well as video clips showing them in action and articles about them.

Then come my two texts, The Nature of Mathematical Modeling and The Physics of Information Technology, both published by Cambridge University Press. These are self-contained treatments on the worlds inside and outside of computers, and include all of the technical material and supporting references behind this book. Although the texts reach a graduate level, my hope and experience has been that they’re useful for the motivated but otherwise inexperienced reader in learning to speak the technical language and join the discussion.

WHEN THINGS START TO THINK by Neil Gershenfeld. ©1998 by Neil A. Gershenfeld. Reprinted by arrangement with Henry Holt and Company, LLC.