The Elements for iPad has been one of the most successful ebook titles for the iPad, despite being about a subject that frankly no one would think they are interested in before seeing it. We tried to build something pure and beautiful, with the guiding principle being WWHPD? (What Would Harry Potter Do?) In other words, we thought, if Harry Potter checked a copy of The Elements out of the Hogwarts library, what would it look like, what kind of magical interactivity would it have? Then we built that magic. In this talk I will describe how we did that and how we’re applying the same thinking to future titles.
Theodore Gray is an award-winning software developer, author, and popularizer of science. Having started out in chemistry, he joined Stephen Wolfram in 1987 in the creation of Mathematica. Gray pioneered the concept of Mathematica notebooks—which serve as the main interface to Mathematica, and have made possible the creation of millions of interactive computable documents. Ever since the founding of Wolfram Research, Gray has guided its user interface strategy, and has been responsible for a sequence of major innovations.
Over the years Gray has developed an independent interest in science writing and in communicating the excitement and importance of science to a wide audience. He is a Contributing Editor at Popular Science magazine, and has authored its Gray Matter column since 2003. The How 2.0 section containing Gray’s column won a National Magazine Award in 2005, and Gray’s column is a finalist for its own National Magazine Award for 2010.
Gray is the author of Mad Science: Experiments You Can Do at Home–But Probably Shouldn’t, and of the best selling coffee table book The Elements, A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe, now the groundbreaking first product of Touch Press. He is also the proprietor of periodictable.com and the creator of the iconic photographic periodic-table poster seen in universities, schools, museums, and on TV shows from MythBusters to Hannah Montana.
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