a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please tick here if you would like us to keep you informed about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.


My life list: Plants and animals


My life list: Natural phenomena
W Daniel Hillis Scientist
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

There's some natural phenomena that I've never seen that I really want. Like ball lightning or sprites. I've never seen a sprite. I've never seen breaking ice into the sea. I definitely want to do that. And I've actually never seen a total eclipse. I've seen annular eclipses and I've seen partial eclipses and I've seen total lunar eclipses, but I've never seen a total solar eclipse, so there's not too many more coming up in the next few decades, so I've got to get on that one. I've tried to, a few times, but never had the right alignment of weather and... but yes, I would definitely like to do that. Like I said, the aurora is still on the list. Even though I've seen it, I want to see it more. I don't feel like I've seen that enough. But I have seen things like active volcanoes, lava flowing into the sea, quicksand, the Magellanic Clouds. You know, they're all kinds of things that I'd dreamed of seeing and actually got to, so...

[Q] Have you seen the green flash?

Green flash is on the list to do. It's right there, but I have never actually seen it. I've looked for it many times, but the closest I came, there was once a perfect setup to see it, I was out on the beach, and then one of the kids needed a diaper change, and I ran inside to change the diaper and everybody else saw the green flash except for me. So I've never seen a green flash. It's a... that's a tough one.

W Daniel Hillis (b. 1956) is an American inventor, scientist, author and engineer. While doing his doctoral work at MIT under artificial intelligence pioneer, Marvin Minsky, he invented the concept of parallel computers, that is now the basis for most supercomputers. He also co-founded the famous parallel computing company, Thinking Machines, in 1983 which marked a new era in computing. In 1996, Hillis left MIT for California, where he spent time leading Disney’s Imagineers. He developed new technologies and business strategies for Disney's theme parks, television, motion pictures, Internet and consumer product businesses. More recently, Hillis co-founded an engineering and design company, Applied Minds, and several start-ups, among them Applied Proteomics in San Diego, MetaWeb Technologies (acquired by Google) in San Francisco, and his current passion, Applied Invention in Cambridge, MA, which 'partners with clients to create innovative products and services'. He holds over 100 US patents, covering parallel computers, disk arrays, forgery prevention methods, and various electronic and mechanical devices (including a 10,000-year mechanical clock), and has recently moved into working on problems in medicine. In recognition of his work Hillis has won many awards, including the Dan David Prize.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes George Dyson

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: bucket list, natural phenomena, Aurora Borealis, green flash, sprite, eclipse, volcano, lava

Duration: 1 minute, 53 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2016

Date story went live: 05 July 2017