Monday, October 8, 2012

How it all began...

About three and a half years ago I encountered a problem. It seemed like it must be a problem that countless people faced. But amazingly there was no solution.

I was on my way to finishing  my master’s in mathematics hoping to carry on with a PhD. For one of my courses, I received a home assignment that required the analysis of the NLS (Nonlinear Schrodinger equation).  Then I got stuck.

So I did what any 21st century student would do. I opened my browser and searched “NLS”.
Then I searched “Nonlinear Schrodinger equation.” Then I tried to add the relevant dimension to the queries.  

Then I got really frustrated.

I tried putting in the signs of the equation. But since everybody writes the equations differently, that was completely useless.

I returned to search with text. For each article that seemed relevant I needed to download the file (PDFs) and plough through the whole article. 

After more than an hour I finally found what I was looking for. 

Actually, during my BSc In Physics and MA in Mathematics this happened a lot. It happened a lot to all my friends too.

Great scientific content, that we knew was out there on the web was unsearchable.

I suddenly realized how extremely cool a semantic mathematical and scientific search engine could be. It would be an indispensable search tool for scientists, researchers, teachers and students everywhere. It would be a real contribution to science. People said it was too difficult. Difficult or not, I had to see if there is a way to pull it off.

I knew that if I could solve this problem for myself, I would solve it for tens of millions of people.


Back in 2012, Symbolab is on its way to conquering the scientific research space. We have solved the problem that defeated me as a student.

I hope that it makes your life as much easier as it has mine.