Eric W. Weisstein

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Dr. Eric W. Weisstein

Dr. Eric W. Weisstein (born March 18, 1969, in Bloomington, Indiana) is a noted encyclopedist in several technical areas of science and mathematics. He currently works for Wolfram Research, Inc. Dr. Weisstein is dedicated to the maintenance and improvement of MathWorld and Eric Weisstein's World of Science (ScienceWorld) along with four other encyclopedias in progress.



Dr. Weisstein holds a Ph.D. in planetary astronomy which he obtained from the California Institute of Technology's (Caltech) Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences in 1996 as well as an M.S. in planetary astronomy in 1993 also from Caltech. Weisstein also graduated Cum Laude from Cornell University with a B.A. in physics and a minor in astronomy in 1990. During his summers away from Cornell, Weisstein participated in research at the Arecibo Observatory, a radio telescope facility in Puerto Rico operated by Cornell. As a graduate student, Weisstein also participated in research at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD. During his time at Goddard, Weisstein participated in the development of hurricane visualization software. In 1996 Weisstein published his doctoral thesis titled Millimeter/Submillimeter Fourier Transform Spectroscopy of Jovian Planet Atmospheres ( which was completed under faculty advisor Dr. Dewey Muhleman ( and in association with Eugene Serabyn, who is now a member of the Caltech Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).


Academic research

Upon completion of his doctorate, Weisstein became a research scientist at Caltech in January 1996 and continued work in the field of submillimeter spectroscopy, which is an important analysis technique in astronomy. He collaborated again with Dr. Eugene Serabyn and published several papers. Six months later, Weisstein moved to the University of Virginia's Department of Astronomy in Charlottesville, VA. He remained at the University of Virginia for almost three years to continue his work in submillimeter spectroscopy.

MathWorld, ScienceWorld and Wolfram Research

Throughout Weisstein's life he has displayed a propensity to document that which he has learned in an extremely rigorous manner. Weisstein's biography at MathWorld traces this back 15 years to his time in high school and throughout his undergraduate and graduate years in school. Weisstein has catalogued an extensive amount of information. Although he has occasionally been known to document in extraordinary detail things that are simply fun and interesting such as his Excruciatingly Detailed Star Trek (TOS) Plot Summaries (, much of his work has been dedicated to writing technical encyclopedias in mathematics and several fields of science.

In 1995, Weisstein converted a Microsoft Word document of over 200 pages to hypertext format and uploaded it to his webspace at Caltech under the title Eric's Treasure Trove of Sciences. This document contained a compendium of information that Weisstein had obtained throughout his studies. As Weisstein transferred to the University of Virginia to continue his work in astronomy, he continued to and refine his fledgling encyclopedia. In November 1998, Weisstein made a deal with the CRC Press to publish his encyclopedia in book format titled, the CRC Concise Encyclopedia of Mathematics. One year later, in 1999, Weisstein accepted the position of encyclopedist at Wolfram Research, Inc. (WRI) under Stephen Wolfram, President of Wolfram Research and author of Mathematica. In this position, which he still holds today, Weisstein has been able to refine, update and expand his entries. Weisstein has provided the world with two major contributions: MathWorld and ScienceWorld.

MathWorld was ready to be unveiled in December 1999. It is regarded as an important resource for both professional and student mathematicians. There are more than 11,000 entries in MathWorld. These entries are available in a vast array of disciplines including algebra, geometry, calculus, discrete mathematics, topology, number theory, statistics, and even the history of mathematics.

Unfortunately, MathWorld was involved in a legal dispute with the CRC Press beginning in March 2000. The CRC Press claimed MathWorld violated the copyright on the CRC Concise Encyclopedia of Mathematics. During the dispute a court order shut down MathWorld for over a year from October 23, 2000, to November 6, 2001. Wolfram Research, Stephen Wolfram and Eric Weisstein settled with the CRC Press for an undisclosed financial award and several benefits. Among these benefits are the inclusion of a copyright notice of the CRC Press at the bottom of all webpages in MathWorld and legal rights to reproduce MathWorld in book format again.

ScienceWorld, or Eric Weisstein's World of Science as it may be known, was unveiled to the general public in January 2002. ScienceWorld includes greater than 1,000 entries in many fields of science including: astronomy, chemistry, physics and biographies of many scientists.

Other encyclopedias

Eric Weisstein also has several other encyclopedias under development. Among these are encyclopedias on scientific books, the game of life in cellular automata theory (which Stephen Wolfram writes about extensively in his book A New Kind of Science), music and rocketry.

External links and references

Weisstein's encyclopedias

Under development

Educational links



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