Stephen Wolfram has spent his life to date -- and will likely continue to do so -- developing amazing new computational technologies to empower scientists and academics to more efficiently and effectively compute their way through their research, and even help them to make a few discoveries along the way.
Now, Wolfram and his company's decades worth of computational development are being reimplemented into a simple user interface that is accessible to anyone who can ask a question. In particular, the ultimate goal of Wolfram|Alpha is to -- simply! -- "make all systematic knowledge immediately computable and accessible to everyone." This platform is under continuous development and hopes to "compute whatever can be computed about anything."
Pause for a moment and just think about that goal once again: "compute whatever can be computed about anything." After soaking in these thoughts, you may now raise your jaw back into it's closed and upright position.
This resource will be especially useful to citizen scientists who need quick references to factual data that can be trusted. (References are included with the computed results.) Moreover, an exciting feature of the output from a Wolfram|Alpha query is that it not only tries to provide you with a specific result, but it also explores the results to potentially bring you additional information, background, and even comparisons that you might not have considered in your original question.
Enter any mathematical expression, and a whirlwind of results will be presented, ask about what drugs are used to treat a medical condition, say Multiple Sclerosis (try it), ask about the temperature in your city (try it) and you'll have current temperature and historical data graphed for you for 10 years or more, find out how much oil has been spilled in the Gulf of Mexico (try it), type in your birth date (try it) and discover not only how old you are, but other famous anniversaries and the sunrise, sunset, and moon phase for that day in history. Examples of what you could possibly discover with Wolfram|Alpha are infinite [ EXPLORE EXAMPLES ], and the results that you will find are so much more direct, powerful and efficient than what you could ever find googling random web sites.
So, I encourage you to dive in and try out this exciting resource (download the iPhone app), and consider it when you need to find real answers to your real questions while doing your real amateur research. And, if you discover something particularly interesting, please post here to let everyone experience the wonders of computation with you.
Explore Wolfram|Alpha now... [ LINK ]
Enter your question to computer in the Wolfram|Alpha Search Box below