The Remarkable Story Behind The Most Important Algorithm Of All Time
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 Published On Nov 3, 2022

The Fast Fourier Transform is used everywhere but it has a fascinating origin story that could have ended the nuclear arms race. This video is sponsored by 80,000 Hours. Head to http://80000hours.org/veritasium to sign up for their newsletter and get sent a free copy of their in-depth career guide.

A huge thank you to Dr. Richard Garwin for taking the time to speak with us.
Thanks to Dr. Steve Brunton of the University of Washington for his help with understanding the Fast Fourier Transform.

Thanks to Dr. Cliff Thurber of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dr. Paul Richards of Columbia University, and Dr. Steven Gibbons of the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute for their expertise.

Thanks to Grant Sanderson of 3Blue1Brown for his helpful feedback on the script. His great video on the Fourier Transform is here -    • But what is the Fourier Transform?  A...  

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References:

Kristensen, H.M., Korda, M. (2022). Status of World Nuclear Forces. Federation of American Scientists (FAS). https://ve42.co/Stockpile2022

Barth, K. H. (1998). Science and politics in early nuclear test ban negotiations. Physics Today, 51(3), 34-39. - https://ve42.co/Barth1998

Schmalberger, T. (1991). In pursuit of a nuclear test ban treaty - https://ve42.co/Schmalberger1991

Bowers, D., & Selby, N. D. (2009). Forensic seismology and the comprehensive nuclear-test-ban treaty. Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, 37, 209-236 - https://ve42.co/Bowers2009

Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS). (2022). How Often Do Earthquakes Occur? https://ve42.co/IRIS2022

Kimball, D. (2022). The Nuclear Testing Tally. Arms Control Association. https://ve42.co/TestTally2022

Kværna, T., & Ringdal, F. (2013). Detection capability of the seismic network of the International Monitoring System for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 103(2A), 759-772 - https://ve42.co/Kvrna2013

Sykes, L. R., & Evernden, J. F. (1982). The verification of a comprehensive nuclear test ban. Scientific American, 247(4), 47-55 - https://ve42.co/Sykes1982

Peterson, J., & Hutt, C. R. (2014). World-wide standardized seismograph network: a data users guide (p. 82). US Department of the Interior, US Geological Survey. - https://ve42.co/Peterson2014

Richards, P. G., & Kim, W. Y. (2009). Monitoring for nuclear explosions. Scientific American, 300(3), 70-77 - https://ve42.co/Richards2009

Jacobsen, L. L., Fedorova, I., & Lajus, J. (2021). The seismograph as a diplomatic object: The Soviet–American exchange of instruments, 1958–1964. Centaurus, 63(2), 277-295 - https://ve42.co/Jacobsen2021

Schwartz S. I. (1998). The Hidden Costs Of Our Nuclear Arsenal: Overview Of Project Findings. The Brookings Institution - https://ve42.co/Schwartz1998

Ricón, J.L. (2016). The Soviet Union: Military Spending. Nintil - https://ve42.co/Nintil2016

Heideman, M. T., Johnson, D. H., & Burrus, C. S. (1985). Gauss and the history of the fast Fourier transform. Archive for history of exact sciences, 265-277 - https://ve42.co/Heideman1985

Ford, D. (2004). Richard Garwin - Session IV. American Institute of Physics (AIP). - https://ve42.co/Ford2004

Aaserud, F. (1986). Richard Garwin - Session I. American Institute of Physics (AIP). - https://ve42.co/Aaserud1986

Goldstein, A. (1997). James W. Cooley, an oral history. IEEE History Center, Piscataway, NJ, USA - https://ve42.co/Goldstein1997

Cooley, J., Garwin, R., Rader, C., Bogert, B., & Stockham, T. (1969). The 1968 Arden House workshop on fast Fourier transform processing. IEEE Transactions on Audio and Electroacoustics, 17(2), 66-76 - https://ve42.co/Cooley1969


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Written by Derek Muller & Felicity Nelson
Filmed by Derek Muller & Raquel Nuno
Animation by Ivy Tello, Jakub Misiek, Alex Drakoulis, and Fabio Albertelli
Edited by Albert Leung & Derek Muller
Research Assistant: Katie Barnshaw
Additional video/photos supplied by Pond5 and Getty Images
Music from Epidemic Sound
Produced by Derek Muller, Petr Lebedev, and Emily Zhang

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