By STEVE LOHR, Published: February 6, 2012
Stephen Wolfram, a 52-year-old scientist, software designer and entrepreneur, tends to go his own way — often with noteworthy results. He published his first physics paper at 15, earned his Ph.D. from Caltech at 20 and two years later won a MacArthur prize.
Less than three years ago, Dr. Wolfram created a new kind of search engine, called Wolfram Alpha. Unlike Google or Microsoft’s Bing, Wolfram Alpha does not forage the Web. It culls its own painstakingly curated database to find answers.