Clifford A. Pickover

Clifford A. Pickover

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Encyclopedia
Clifford A. Pickover is an American author, editor, and columnist in the fields of science
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

, mathematics
Mathematics
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

, and science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

, and is employed at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center
Thomas J. Watson Research Center
The Thomas J. Watson Research Center is the headquarters for the IBM Research Division.The center is on three sites, with the main laboratory in Yorktown Heights, New York, 38 miles north of New York City, a building in Hawthorne, New York, and offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts.- Overview :The...

 in Yorktown, New York
Yorktown, New York
Yorktown is a town in Westchester County, New York, in the suburbs of New York about north of midtown Manhattan. The town lies on the north border of Westchester County...

.

Biography


He received his Ph.D.
Ph.D.
A Ph.D. is a Doctor of Philosophy, an academic degree.Ph.D. may also refer to:* Ph.D. , a 1980s British group*Piled Higher and Deeper, a web comic strip*PhD: Phantasy Degree, a Korean comic series* PhD Docbook renderer, an XML renderer...

 in 1982 from Yale University
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

's Department of Molecular Biophysics
Molecular biophysics
Molecular biophysics is a rapidly evolving interdisciplinary area of research that combines concepts in physics, chemistry, engineering, mathematics and biology...

 and Biochemistry
Biochemistry
Biochemistry, sometimes called biological chemistry, is the study of chemical processes in living organisms, including, but not limited to, living matter. Biochemistry governs all living organisms and living processes...

, where he conducted research on X-ray
X-ray
X-radiation is a form of electromagnetic radiation. X-rays have a wavelength in the range of 0.01 to 10 nanometers, corresponding to frequencies in the range 30 petahertz to 30 exahertz and energies in the range 120 eV to 120 keV. They are shorter in wavelength than UV rays and longer than gamma...

 scattering and protein structure. Pickover graduated first in his class from Franklin and Marshall College, after completing the four-year undergraduate program in three years.

He joined IBM at the Thomas J. Watson Research Center
Thomas J. Watson Research Center
The Thomas J. Watson Research Center is the headquarters for the IBM Research Division.The center is on three sites, with the main laboratory in Yorktown Heights, New York, 38 miles north of New York City, a building in Hawthorne, New York, and offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts.- Overview :The...

 in 1982, as a member of the speech synthesis
Speech synthesis
Speech synthesis is the artificial production of human speech. A computer system used for this purpose is called a speech synthesizer, and can be implemented in software or hardware...

 group and later worked on the design-automation workstations. For much of his career, Pickover has published technical articles in the areas of scientific visualization
Scientific visualization
Scientific visualization is an interdisciplinary branch of science according to Friendly "primarily concerned with the visualization of three-dimensional phenomena , where the emphasis is on realistic renderings of volumes, surfaces, illumination sources, and so forth, perhaps...

, computer art
Computer art
Computer art is any art in which computers play a role in production or display of the artwork. Such art can be an image, sound, animation, video, CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, videogame, web site, algorithm, performance or gallery installation...

, and recreational mathematics
Recreational mathematics
Recreational mathematics is an umbrella term, referring to mathematical puzzles and mathematical games.Not all problems in this field require a knowledge of advanced mathematics, and thus, recreational mathematics often attracts the curiosity of non-mathematicians, and inspires their further study...

. Pickover is still employed at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center
Thomas J. Watson Research Center
The Thomas J. Watson Research Center is the headquarters for the IBM Research Division.The center is on three sites, with the main laboratory in Yorktown Heights, New York, 38 miles north of New York City, a building in Hawthorne, New York, and offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts.- Overview :The...

, where he is the editor of the IBM Journal of Research and Development.

He is currently an associate editor for the scientific journal Computers and Graphics and is an editorial board member for Odyssey and Leonardo. He is also the Brain-Strain columnist for Odyssey magazine, and, for many years, he was the Brain-Boggler columnist for Discover magazine.

Pickover has received more than 100 IBM invention achievement awards, three research division awards, and four external honor awards.

Work


Pickover's primary interest is in finding new ways to expand creativity by melding art, science, mathematics, and other seemingly disparate areas of human endeavor.
In The Math Book and his companion book The Physics Book, Pickover explains that both mathematics and physics "cultivate a perpetual state of wonder about the limits of thoughts, the workings of the universe, and our place in the vast space-time landscape that we call home."

Pickover is an inventor with over eighty patent
Patent
A patent is a form of intellectual property. It consists of a set of exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state to an inventor or their assignee for a limited period of time in exchange for the public disclosure of an invention....

s, the author of puzzle calendars, and puzzle contributor to magazines geared to children and adults. His Neoreality and Heaven Virus science-fiction series explores the fabric of reality and religion.

Pickover is author of hundreds of technical papers in diverse fields, ranging from the creative visualizations of fossil seashells, genetic sequences, cardiac and speech sounds, and virtual caverns and lava lamps, to fractal and mathematically based studies. He also has published articles in the areas of skepticism (e.g. ESP and Nostradamus), psychology (e.g. temporal lobe epilepsy and genius), and technical speculation (e.g. “What if scientists had found a computer in 1900?” and “An informal survey on the scientific and social impact of a soda can-sized super-super computer”). Additional visualization work includes topics that involve breathing motions of proteins, snow-flake like patterns for speech sounds, cartoon-face representations of data, and biomorphs.

On November 4, 2006, he began Wikidumper.org
Wikidumper.org
WikiDumper.org is a website created by Clifford A. Pickover that promises to permanently record a snapshot of the "best of the Wikipedia rejects", articles that are slated for deletion at the site. WikiDumper was launched on November 4, 2006, and accepts user submissions. Although the site doesn't...

, a popular blog featuring articles being considered for deletion by Wikipedia
Wikipedia
Wikipedia is a free, web-based, collaborative, multilingual encyclopedia project supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. Its 20 million articles have been written collaboratively by volunteers around the world. Almost all of its articles can be edited by anyone with access to the site,...

.

Pickover stalks


Pickover stalks refer to certain kinds of details that are empirically found in the Mandelbrot set
Mandelbrot set
The Mandelbrot set is a particular mathematical set of points, whose boundary generates a distinctive and easily recognisable two-dimensional fractal shape...

 in the study of fractal geometry. In the 1980s, Pickover proposed that experimental mathematicians and computer artists examine the behavior of orbit trajectories for the Mandelbrot in order to study how closely the orbits of interior points come to the x and y axes in the complex plane. In some renditions of this behavior, the closer that the point approaches, the higher up the color scale, with red denoting the closest approach. The logarithm of the distance is taken to accentuate the details. This work grew from his earlier work with Julia sets and "Pickover biomorphs," the latter of which often resembled microbes.

Frontiers of Scientific Visualization


In "Frontiers of Scientific Visualization" (1994) Pickover explored "the art and science of making the unseen workings of nature visible". The books contains contributions on "Fluid flow, fractals, plant growth, genetic sequencing, the configuration of distant galaxies, virtual reality to artistic inspiration", and focuses on use of computers as tools for simulation, art and discovery.

Visualizing Biological Information


In "Visualizing Biological Information" (1995) Pickover considered "biological data of all kinds, which is proliferating at an incredible rate". According to Pickover, "if humans attempt to read such data in the form of numbers and letters, they will take in the information at a snail's pace. If the information is rendered graphically, however, human analysts can assimilate it and gain insight much faster. The emphasis of this work is on the novel graphical and musical representation of information containing sequences, such as DNA and amino acid sequences, to help us find hidden pattern and meaning".

Vampire numbers and other mathematical highlights


In mathematics, a vampire number
Vampire number
In mathematics, a vampire number is a composite natural number v, with an even number of digits n, that can be factored into two integers x and y each with n/2 digits and not both with trailing zeroes, where v contains precisely all the digits from x and from y, in any order, counting multiplicity...

 or true vampire number is a composite
Composite number
A composite number is a positive integer which has a positive divisor other than one or itself. In other words a composite number is any positive integer greater than one that is not a prime number....

 natural number
Natural number
In mathematics, the natural numbers are the ordinary whole numbers used for counting and ordering . These purposes are related to the linguistic notions of cardinal and ordinal numbers, respectively...

 v, with an even number of digit
Numerical digit
A digit is a symbol used in combinations to represent numbers in positional numeral systems. The name "digit" comes from the fact that the 10 digits of the hands correspond to the 10 symbols of the common base 10 number system, i.e...

s n, that can be factored into two integers x and y each with n/2 digits and not both with trailing zeroes, where v contains all the digits from x and from y, in any order. x and y are called the fangs.
As an example, 1260 is a vampire number because it can be expressed as 21 × 60 = 1260.
Note that the digits of the factors 21 and 60 can be found, in some scrambled order, in 1260.
Similarly, 136,948 is a vampire because 136,948 = 146 × 938.

Vampire numbers first appeared in a 1994 post by Clifford A. Pickover to the Usenet
Usenet
Usenet is a worldwide distributed Internet discussion system. It developed from the general purpose UUCP architecture of the same name.Duke University graduate students Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis conceived the idea in 1979 and it was established in 1980...

 group sci.math, and the article he later wrote was published in chapter 30 of his book Keys to Infinity.

In addition to “Vampire numbers”,
a term Pickover actually coined, he has coined the following terms in the area of mathematics:
Leviathan number, factorion
Factorion
A factorion is a natural number that equals the sum of the factorials of its decimal digits. For example, 145 is a factorion because 1! + 4! + 5! = 1 + 24 + 120 = 145.There are just four factorions and they are 1, 2, 145 and 40585 .-Upper bound:...

,
Carotid-Kundalini function and fractal, batrachion, Juggler sequence, and Legion’s number, among others. For characterizing noisy data, he has used Truchet tiles and Noise spheres, the later of which is a term he coined for a particular mapping, and visualization, of noisy data to spherical coordinates.

In 1990, he asked “Is There a Double Smoothly Undulating Integer?”, and he computed “All Known Replicating Fibonacci Digits Less than One Billion". With his colleague John R. Hendricks, he was the first to compute the smallest perfect (nasik) magic tesseract
Magic tesseract
In mathematics, a magic tesseract is the 4-dimensional counterpart of a magic square and magic cube, that is, a number of integers arranged in an n × n × n × n pattern such that the sum of the numbers on each pillar as well as the main space diagonals is equal to a single number,...

. The “Pickover sequence” dealing with e and pi was named after him, as was the “Cliff random number generator” and the Pickover attractor, sometimes also referred to as the Clifford Attractor.

Culture, Religion, Belief


Starting in about 2001, Pickover’s books sometimes began to include topics beyond his traditional focus on science and mathematics. For example, Dreaming the Future discusses various methods of divination that humans have used since stone-age times. The Paradox of God deals with topics in religion. Perhaps the most obvious departure from his earlier works includes Sex, Drugs, Einstein, and Elves: Sushi, Psychedelics, Parallel Universes, and the Quest for Transcendence, which explores the “borderlands of science” and is “part memoir and part surrealist perspective on culture.”. Pickover follows-up his “quest for transcendence” and examination of popular culture with A Beginner’s Guide to Immortality: Extraordinary People, Alien Brains, and Quantum Resurrection.

WikiDumper.org


Wikidumper.org
Wikidumper.org
WikiDumper.org is a website created by Clifford A. Pickover that promises to permanently record a snapshot of the "best of the Wikipedia rejects", articles that are slated for deletion at the site. WikiDumper was launched on November 4, 2006, and accepts user submissions. Although the site doesn't...

 is a website created by Pickover that promises to permanently record a snapshot of the "best of the Wikipedia
Wikipedia
Wikipedia is a free, web-based, collaborative, multilingual encyclopedia project supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. Its 20 million articles have been written collaboratively by volunteers around the world. Almost all of its articles can be edited by anyone with access to the site,...

 rejects", articles that are slated for deletion at the Wikipedia. WikiDumper was launched on November 4, 2006, and accepts user submissions. Although the site doesn't specify its criteria for inclusion, many of its articles don't cite
Citation
Broadly, a citation is a reference to a published or unpublished source . More precisely, a citation is an abbreviated alphanumeric expression Broadly, a citation is a reference to a published or unpublished source (not always the original source). More precisely, a citation is an abbreviated...

 their sources. The site has been criticized as likely to be less accurate than Wikipedia.

Publications


Pickover is author of over forty books on such topics as computers and creativity
Creativity
Creativity refers to the phenomenon whereby a person creates something new that has some kind of value. What counts as "new" may be in reference to the individual creator, or to the society or domain within which the novelty occurs...

, art
Art
Art is the product or process of deliberately arranging items in a way that influences and affects one or more of the senses, emotions, and intellect....

, mathematics
Mathematics
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

, black hole
Black hole
A black hole is a region of spacetime from which nothing, not even light, can escape. The theory of general relativity predicts that a sufficiently compact mass will deform spacetime to form a black hole. Around a black hole there is a mathematically defined surface called an event horizon that...

s, human behavior and intelligence, time travel
Time travel
Time travel is the concept of moving between different points in time in a manner analogous to moving between different points in space. Time travel could hypothetically involve moving backward in time to a moment earlier than the starting point, or forward to the future of that point without the...

, alien life, Einstein, religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

, dimethyltryptamine
Dimethyltryptamine
N,N-Dimethyltryptamine is a naturally occurring psychedelic compound of the tryptamine family. DMT is found in several plants, and also in trace amounts in humans and other mammals, where it is originally derived from the essential amino acid tryptophan, and ultimately produced by the enzyme INMT...

 elves, parallel universes
Many-worlds interpretation
The many-worlds interpretation is an interpretation of quantum mechanics that asserts the objective reality of the universal wavefunction, but denies the actuality of wavefunction collapse. Many-worlds implies that all possible alternative histories and futures are real, each representing an...

, the nature of genius
Genius
Genius is something or someone embodying exceptional intellectual ability, creativity, or originality, typically to a degree that is associated with the achievement of unprecedented insight....

, and science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

.

Books

  • 1990. Computers, Pattern, Chaos, and Beauty. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-486-41709-3
  • 1991. Computers and the Imagination. St. Martin's Press.
  • 1992. Mazes for the Mind. St. Martin's Press.
  • 1994. Chaos in Wonderland. St. Martin's Press.
  • 1995. Keys to Infinity. Wiley.
  • 1996. Black Holes: A Traveler's Guide. Wiley.
  • 1997. The Alien IQ Test. Basic Books.
  • 1997. The Loom of God. Plenum.
  • 1998. Spider Legs. With Piers Anthony
    Piers Anthony
    Piers Anthony Dillingham Jacob is an English American writer in the science fiction and fantasy genres, publishing under the name Piers Anthony. He is most famous for his long-running novel series set in the fictional realm of Xanth.Many of his books have appeared on the New York Times Best...

     TOR.
  • 1998. The Science of Aliens. Basic Books.
  • 1998. Time: A Traveler's Guide. Oxford University Press.
  • 1999. Strange Brains and Genius. Quill.
  • 1999. Surfing Through Hyperspace. Oxford University Press.
  • 2000. Cryptorunes: Codes and Secret Writing. Pomegranate.
  • 2000. The Girl Who Gave Birth to Rabbits. Prometheus.
  • 2000. Wonders of Numbers. Oxford University Press.
  • 2001. Dreaming the Future. Prometheus.
  • 2001. The Stars of Heaven. Oxford University Press.
  • 2002. The Zen of Magic Squares, Circles, and Stars. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-11597-4
  • 2002. The Mathematics of Oz. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-01678-9
  • 2002. The Paradox of God and the Science of Omniscience. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 1-4039-6457-2
  • 2003. Calculus and Pizza. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0-471-26987-5
  • 2005. Sex, Drugs, Einstein, and Elves. Smart Publications. ISBN 1-890572-17-9
  • 2005. A Passion for Mathematics, John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0-471-69098-8
  • 2006. The Mobius Strip, Thunder's Mouth Press. ISBN 1-56025-826-8
  • 2007. A Beginner's Guide to Immortality. Thunder's Mouth Press. ISBN 978-1560259848
  • 2007. The Heaven Virus. Lulu. ISBN 978-1430329695
  • 2008. Archimedes to Hawking: Laws of Science and the Great Minds Behind Them. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195336115
  • 2009. Jews in Hyperspace. Kindle Edition.
  • 2009. The Loom of God. Sterling Publishing. ISBN 978-1402764004
  • 2009. The Math Book: From Pythagoras to the 57th Dimension, 250 Milestones in the History of Mathematics. Sterling Publishing. ISBN 978-1402757969
  • 2011. The Physics Book: From the Big Bang to Quantum Resurrection. Sterling Publishing. ISBN 978-1402778612

  • Mind-Bending Puzzles (calendars & cards), Pomegranate, each year

Neoreality science fiction series

  • 2002. Liquid Earth. The Lighthouse Press, Inc.
  • 2002. The Lobotomy Club. The Lighthouse Press, Inc.
  • 2002. Sushi Never Sleeps. The Lighthouse Press, Inc.
  • 2002. Egg Drop Soup. The Lighthouse Press, Inc. ISBN 0-9714827-9-9

Edited collections

  • 1992. Spiral Symmetry, World Scientific. ISBN 981-02-0615-1
  • 1993. Visions of the Future: St. Martin's Press.
  • 1994. Frontiers of Scientific Visualization. Wiley.
  • 1995. Future Health: Computers & Medicine in the 21st Century. St. Martin's Press.
  • 1995. 'The Pattern Book: Fractals, Art, and Nature. World Scientific.
  • 1995. Visualizing Biological Information. World Scientific.
  • 1996. Fractal Horizons. St. Martin's Press,
  • 1998. Chaos and Fractals. Elsevier.

See also


  • Leviathan number
    Leviathan number
    The Leviathan number in numerology is defined as the factorial of the 666th power of ten: !, which has approximately 6.65565705×10668 digits....

  • factorion
    Factorion
    A factorion is a natural number that equals the sum of the factorials of its decimal digits. For example, 145 is a factorion because 1! + 4! + 5! = 1 + 24 + 120 = 145.There are just four factorions and they are 1, 2, 145 and 40585 .-Upper bound:...

  • batrachion
  • Juggler sequence
  • Pickover stalks
  • Vampire numbers

External links