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Alexander Wissner-Gross

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Alexander D. Wissner-Gross
Alma materMassachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University
Scientific career

Alexander D. Wissner-Gross is an American research scientist and entrepreneur.[1] He is a fellow at the Institute for Applied Computational Science at Harvard University.[2]


At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he researched nanotechnology, Wissner-Gross triple-majored in physics, electrical engineering and mathematics. He was awarded the Marshall Scholarship, and was the last student to triple-major at MIT before the option was discontinued.[3] Wissner-Gross also has a Ph.D in physics from Harvard University.[4]


In 2007,[4] Wissner-Gross founded the technology company CO2Stats, which measures the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by using a website.[5] CO2Stats is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and received funding from the seed venture capital firm Y Combinator.[4] The company attracted controversy when Wissner-Gross was reported to have claimed that a single Google search emitted seven grams of CO2, which Google disputed.[6] Wissner-Gross denied making the claim.[4]


Wissner-Gross co-authored a paper with mathematician Cameron Freer describing a "biophysical model for explaining sophisticated intelligent behavior in human and nonhuman animals", published in the journal Physical Review Letters,[7] which he expected would be useful for artificial intelligence. Researcher Gary Marcus wrote an article in The New Yorker criticizing the paper, saying they were "essentially promising a television set that walks your dog".[1]


  1. ^ a b Marcus, Gary; Davis, Ernest (May 6, 2013). "A Grand Unified Theory of Everything". The New Yorker. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  2. ^ "Alexander Wissner-Gross". Institute for Applied Computational Science at Harvard University. Harvard University. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  3. ^ "Three MIT students win Marshall Scholarships". MIT News. December 4, 2002. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d Buderi, Robert (January 14, 2009). "Tempest in a Tea Kettle: CO2Stats Founder Caught in Frenzy Around Environmental Costs of a Google Search". Xconomy. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  5. ^ St. John, Jeff (January 13, 2009). "Google CO2 Claim Throws CO2Stats Into Limelight". Greentech Media. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  6. ^ "'Carbon cost' of Google revealed". BBC News. January 12, 2009. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  7. ^ Wissner-Gross, Alexander D.; Freer, Cameron E. (April 19, 2013). "Causal Entropic Forces" (PDF). Physical Review Letters. 110 (16): 168702. Bibcode:2013PhRvL.110p8702W. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.110.168702. PMID 23679649. Retrieved 4 April 2016.

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