For those who don’t know, Mathworld is an (excellent) online encyclopedia of mathematics from Wolfram Research.
His talk was interesting, and a good time was had by all.
He spoke about how Mathworld got started, first as a giant word document of class notes. He went on to talk about how he then put all those notes onto a website “Eric’s Treasure Trove of Mathematics” when that internet thing was getting started. How he got sued, taken down, and then then a year later (2000), how it returned as the site we know and love today.
We also got a nice preview of Mathematica 6.0. I’m no Mathematica user, but I saw a few things that impressed me. Mathematica now supports anti-aliasing (the jaggly lines it draws currently have always been a turn off for me). Smooth Shading (makes surfaces much nicer). And also a cool little deally where you (as far as I can tell) treat graphics as objects (or whatever they are in Mathematica) – so their no longer static and stuff like that… cool.
There were also some other nifty tidbits as well – he commented a bit on his role as an advisor to the CBS TV series Numb3rs (I haven’t seen it myself but I hear it’s good). I also found out that in the not so distant future we should be able to expect a Mathworld podcast (awesome) and that (surprisingly) the entire site is, by-in-large, still a one person show.
Oh – yea, almost forgot, I got this nifty Mathworld shirt too! – rock on.