All posts by katemckinnon

About katemckinnon

Kate McKinnon has devoted herself to the study of how things are done, and how they could be done better.

Advanced Propulsion & Energy IV: Steven Wolfram

Dr. Steven Wolfram dropped into our meeting last week to give a talk about a new way to view the physical structure of our universe, our actions, our past and our present, and it was a stunning presentation.

We first met Wolfram at the 2018 G4G Conference in Atlanta, where Kate had gone to present results on energetic and morphing surfaces from her Contemporary Geometric Beadwork team. We bumped into Stephen outside one of the meeting rooms, and had a spirited conversation with him about structure and physics, and he talked about his dream of pursuing and articulating a new fundamental theory, which he has now developed and refined.

His theory is based solely on relations and the rules governing the evolution of the relations. Like Charles is always saying, everything is an interaction; there are nothing but interactions. An interaction is a relation. A good example is momentum which is characterized by the units of Joules-seconds per meter. Each of these units is defined by a relation. Joules by a potential difference, seconds by now and then, and meters by here and there. The measurement of momentum is used to determine almost all physical phenomena, from particle creation in an accelerator like the LHC, to the interaction of light (electromagnetics) with matter, to the conditions necessary for hot fusion. Keeping track of relations and the associated rules for evolution might be key to unlocking new physical phenomena.

Please give a listen to Stephen’s thrilling talk and the exciting discussion afterwards. There may even be a way to use his theory to discover more about the fundamental nature of energy and how to harvest the energy in the relations of the Universe in a new way.

Another rich and diverse meeting

We held the fourth annual Advanced Propulsion & Energy Conference over Zoom again this year, as the pandemic made it impossible for us to gather as we normally would, on the MIT campus. We met for five days last week, from January 18-22.

Charles Chase moderated the first four days of the meeting, which were dedicated in order to Action, Light, Vacuum Fluctuations, and Gravity. The fifth day was a joint session with the Society for Scientific Exploration, and a special journal issue will follow. See the meeting agenda here.

We’ve uploaded video of each talk here on our YouTube channel, and over the next week we will be adding commentary, introductions, and final high-res videos for each presentation.

This intro to Friday’s session is a nice place to start, if you missed it- Charles lays out some of the pleasures and difficulties of doing innovation.


The UnLAB is a US-based 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation engaged in collaborative research on a variety of topics. Our professionals team with university researchers, national labs, government agencies and partners in industry with the goal of advancing fundamental human understanding in science, engineering and advanced materials.  Read our Mission Statement.

As of December, 2020, we relocated from Washington DC to  Savannah, Georgia. Our founder and CTO, Charles Chase, can be contacted at Charles has a wide range of interests and expertise and currently leads the Advanced Propulsion Team for the UnLAB.
Click below to view or download his vita.

Charles Chase

Charles Chase resume
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The UnLAB is also the parent organization of the open-source, non-profit Contemporary Geometric Beadwork Project, run by UnLAB co-founder Kate McKinnon. Reach the project at

Recent UnLAB activities include fielding two sessions at the MIT’s January 2019 IAP term; one run by Charles Chase on Advanced Propulsion and another by Kate McKinnon on mathematical beadwork.  Advanced Propulsion and Energy sessions were also hosted in 2020 at MIT and 2021 online. The 2020 agenda and questions are here.  Videos of the 2021 talks and discussions are here.

The 2022 Advanced Propulsion & Energy sessions were held virtually again this year, due to the pandemic, and links to the agenda and talk videos can be found here.