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By Stanislaw M. Ulam

The autobiography of mathematician Stanislaw Ulam, one of many nice medical minds of the 20 th century, tells a narrative wealthy with amazingly prophetic speculations and peppered with full of life anecdotes. As a member of the Los Alamos nationwide Laboratory from 1944 on, Ulam helped to precipitate one of the most dramatic adjustments of the postwar global. He was once one of the first to take advantage of and suggest pcs for clinical examine, originated principles for the nuclear propulsion of area autos, and made primary contributions to a lot of state-of-the-art such a lot demanding mathematical projects.With his wide-ranging pursuits, Ulam by no means emphasised the significance of his contributions to the learn that ended in the hydrogen bomb. Now Daniel Hirsch and William Mathews show the genuine tale of Ulam's pivotal function within the making of the "Super," of their historic advent to this behind-the-scenes examine the minds and concepts that ushered within the nuclear age. An epilogue by way of Fran?oise Ulam and Jan Mycielski sheds new gentle on Ulam's personality and mathematical originality.

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A child by chance has some satisfying experiences with numbers; then he experiments further and enlarges his memory by building up his store of experiences.  What I did amounted to completing the square in my head without paper or pencil.  The answer is unknown to this day.  I preferred reading on my own.  I decided to read a page or two a day and attempt to learn the necessary facts about trigonometry and analytic geometry from other books. I found two other books in a secondhand bookstore.  At the age of seventeen I knew as much or more elementary number theory than I do now.

Transformations with the above properties are called ergodic, and before the work of Oxtoby and Ulam, it was not even known that such transformations exist.  But he also contributed to general topology.  All these papers generated many continuations and expansions in the subsequent literature (see SNU and commentaries therein).  Since that time, the theory of branching processes has undergone a great deal of further development.  This work initiated a great number of studies by physicists and mathematicians; in particular it led to the theory of solitons.

Kuratowski was quite good at tennis in those days, and this surprised me since his figure was anything but athletic.  Nevertheless, we discussed its ramifications, and so I went on to Zoppot with my self­confidence intact.  It is a fascinating account of the intellectual and artistic life of Cracow and Lwów from 1910 to 1946.  In view of my youth, this seemed to me a little victory—an acknowledgment of my mathematical presence.  Today, this feeling is disappearing as a result of many concrete mathematical advances made by the methods of formal logic.

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