Conrad Wolfram

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Conrad Wolfram
Conrad Wolfram Portrait.png
Portrait of Conrad Wolfram
Born (1970-06-10) 10 June 1970 (age 52)
Oxford, England
EducationDragon School
Eton College
Alma materUniversity of Cambridge (MA)
EmployerWolfram Research
Known forComputer-Based Math
Parents Edit this at Wikidata

Conrad Wolfram (born 10 June 1970) is a British technologist and businessman known for his work in information technology and mathematics education reform.[1][2] In June 2020, Wolfram released his first book, The Math(s) Fix: An Education Blueprint for the AI Age.[3][4][5][6]

Education and early life[edit]

Born in Oxford, England, in 1970, Wolfram was educated at Dragon School and Eton College where he learned to program on a BBC Micro.[7] He was an undergraduate student at Pembroke College, Cambridge[8] where he studied the Natural Sciences tripos graduating with a Master of Arts degree from the University of Cambridge.[when?]


Wolfram has been a proponent of Computer-Based Math—a reform of mathematics education to "rebuild the curriculum assuming computers exist."[9][10] [11][12] and is the founder of[13][14]

He argues, "There are a few cases where it is important to do calculations by hand, but these are small fractions of cases. The rest of the time you should assume that students should use a computer just like everyone does in the real world."[15] And that "School mathematics is very disconnected from mathematics used to solve problems in the real world".[16] In an interview with the Guardian he described the replacement of hand calculation by computer use as "democratising expertise".[17] He argues that "A good guide to how and what you should do with a computer in the classroom is what you'd do with it outside. As much as possible, use real-world tools in the classroom in an open-ended way not special education-only closed-ended approaches."[18]

In 2009, he spoke about education reform at the TEDx Conference at the EU Parliament.[19][20] and again at TED Global 2010 where he argued that "Maths should be more practical and more conceptual, but less mechanical,"[21] and that "Calculating is the machinery of math - a means to an end."

In August 2012, he was a member of the judging panel at the Festival of Code, the culmination of Young Rewired State 2012.[22] Wolfram is also part of Flooved advisory board.[23]

On 10 June 2020, Wolfram released his first book, The Math(s) Fix: An Education Blueprint for the AI Age.[24][25][26] The book summarises Wolfram's thoughts on the current state of mathematics education and sets out a vision for a new core subject based on computational thinking.

Wolfram research[edit]

Wolfram co-founded Wolfram Research Europe Ltd.[27] in 1991 and remains its CEO.[28] In 1996, he additionally became Strategic and International Director[29] of Wolfram Research, Inc., making him also responsible for Wolfram Research Asia Ltd, and communications such as the website.

Wolfram Research was founded by his brother[30] Stephen Wolfram, the maker of Mathematica software and the Wolfram Alpha knowledge engine.[31]

Wolfram has led the effort to move the use of Mathematica from pure computation system to development and deployment engine,[32][33] instigating technology such as the Mathematica Player family and web Mathematica and by pushing greater automation within the system.[34]

He has also led the focus on interactive publishing technology[35] with the stated aim of "making new applications as everyday as new documents"[36] claiming that "If a picture is worth a thousand words, an interactive document is worth a thousand pictures."[37] These technologies converged to form the Computable Document Format[38] which Wolfram says can "transfer knowledge in a much higher-bandwidth way".[39]

Personal life[edit]

Wolfram's father Hugo Wolfram was a textile manufacturer and novelist (Into a Neutral Country) and his mother Sybil Wolfram was a professor of philosophy at the University of Oxford. He is the younger brother of Stephen Wolfram.[citation needed] Wolfram is married to primary care ophthalmology consultant Stella Hornby and has a daughter, Sophia Wolfram.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Stop Calculating And Start Teaching Computational Thinking
  2. ^ Bing and WolframAlpha catching up with Google in search engine battle?
  3. ^ The Math(s) Fix: An Education Blueprint for the AI Age
  4. ^ Jenkins, Simon (2020). "If we can do without GCSEs and university exams now, why go back?".
  5. ^ "Wolfram Research blog to which Wolfram contributes".
  6. ^ Conrad Wolfram at TED Edit this at Wikidata
  7. ^ Anon (2011). "The BBC Microcomputer and me, 30 years down the line". BBC News.
  8. ^ giving away software in push into China, The News Gazette, 9 March 2008.
  9. ^ Have We Gotten Math Education All Wrong Huffington Post 11 April 2006
  10. ^ Stop teaching kids to add up - maths is more important Financial Times, 7 October 2015
  11. ^ We need to base maths lessons on computers, The Daily Telegraph, 3 December 2009.
  12. ^ Closing the gap between modern life and the math curriculum New York Times, 10 February 2013
  13. ^
  14. ^ The despair of the dissenting government expert The New Statesman
  15. ^ Introducing the 'sat-nav' maths exam, Channel 4 News, Channel 4, UK
  16. ^ Students fleeing mathematics El Pais, Spain,
  17. ^ WolframAlpha Online Search Engine Calculations, The Guardian, 2 September 2009.
  18. ^ edtech digest 10 Dec 2010
  19. ^ I calculate therefore I am, Conrad Wolfram, TedX Brussels, YouTube, 2009.
  20. ^ "Speakers at TEDxBurssels 2009". Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 16 November 2010.
  21. ^ Conrad Wolfram wants to reboot the maths curriculum Archived 21 July 2010 at the Wayback Machine, Wired Magazine, 19 July 2010.
  22. ^ Past Judges Archived 4 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ Company Overview of Flooved Limited, Bloomberg. Retrieved 3/10/17.
  24. ^ Released today: "The Math(s) Fix"
  25. ^ The Math(s) Fix: An Education Blueprint for the AI Age
  26. ^ Redefining The Value Proposition Of Math Education Forbes Jan 2022
  27. ^ Wolfram Alpha goes live, Channel 4 News, Channel 4, UK.
  28. ^ Knowles, Jamillah (15 September 2009). "Guatemala, Wolfram Alpha, Acquine and news". Radio 5, BBC, UK. Retrieved 16 November 2010.
  29. ^ A computational knowledge engine for factual queries, The Hindu, India, 25 May 2009.
  30. ^ Can Wolfram Take on Google?, The Daily Telegraph, UK.
  31. ^ Wolfram promises new way to probe the web, The Independent, UK.
  32. ^ Wolfram Releases Mathematica Player 7, Inside HPC, 10 December 2008.
  33. ^ Wolfram Releases Mathematic Player Pro 7, Dr. Dobb's Journal.
  34. ^ webMathematica Japanese Edition: Unique Product Brings Computation to the Web Archived 7 July 2012 at the Wayback Machine, Mathematica Journal, volume 8, issue 4.
  35. ^ Making Science Leap From the Page The New York Times, 17 December 2011
  36. ^ The day that documents and applications merged, Wolfram Research.
  37. ^ Interactive deployment, Wolfram Research.
  38. ^ Wolfram Alpha Creator plans to delete the PDF The Telegraph (UK)
  39. ^ Conrad Wolfram: computation will release data overload Archived 1 July 2012 at the Wayback Machine Wired 28 June 2012