In my inbox this morning was the usual TED update - and I noticed that Stephen Wolfram was speaking on "Computing a Theory of Everything". I've not heard him speak before, but I have used (at a very low level) his Mathematica software when it first came out in the early 90's. And I have used and actively promoted use of the Wolfram|Alpha search engine he released last year.
I'll need to rewatch this talk at least a few more times to get a better understanding of some of what he said. But a couple of immediate observations ...
1. He's very, very, very smart.
2. He has ideas that are difficult to explain to a lay person (from a physics view point anyway), but he understands that - that's the reason he is investing so much time and money into exploring if the universe is computational. And that's why Wolfram|Alpha is such an awesome tool. The thought that a human language interface (like Wolfram|Alpha uses) might be available to create hitherto extremely complex models of "everything" is mind boggling.
The first part of his talk I found a bit slow - but once past the first 5 or 6 minutes and he gets onto Wolfram|Alpha - then it gets interesting.
The talk is below - watch one of the best brains around in the physics/mathematics space and see if you are inspired to learn more. If so, head to this link for a 13 minute overview by Stephen on what Wolfram|Alpha can do for you right now. Any teacher or student at secondary level can use this.