Stanislaw Ulam

Please Don’t Ignite the Earth’s Atmosphere…

Please Don’t Ignite the Earth’s Atmosphere…

When in 1952 the world‘s first thermonuclear fusion bomb was ignited, mathematicians and physicists thought it would be rather unlikely that testing the newly developed device might result in burning all the nitrogen in the earth‘s atmosphere. However, the possibility could not be excluded completely. Nevertheless, they have have tested the bomb and fortunately for all of us not the like did happen. One of the key persons behind the development of…
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What’s your Erdös Number? – The bustling Life of Mathematician Paul Erdös

What’s your Erdös Number? – The bustling Life of Mathematician Paul Erdös

On September 20, 1996, Hungarian mathematician Paul Erdös passed away. He published more scientific papers than any other mathematician in history, with hundreds of collaborators. Thus, he even created a ‘small world’ of its own, the famous club of people that posess an ‘Erdös Number‘. BTW, my Erdös number is 3, i.e. I have published a paper together with a co-author whose Erdös number is 2. In this little game of numbers,…
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Edward Teller and Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove

Edward Teller and Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove

On January 15, 1908, Hungarian born US theoretical physicist Edward Teller, often referred to as ‘Father of the hydrogenic bomb‘, was born. Teller made numerous contributions to nuclear and molecular physics, and is considered one of the inspirations for the character Dr. Strangelove in the 1964 Stanley Kubrick movie of the same name. “There’s no system foolproof enough to defeat a sufficiently great fool.” — Edward Teller, As quoted in “Nuclear Reactions”, by…
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John von Neumann – Game Theory and the Digital Computer

John von Neumann – Game Theory and the Digital Computer

On December 28, 1903, Hungarian and American pure and applied mathematician, physicist, inventor and polymath John von Neumann was born. He made major contributions to a number of fields including mathematics, physics, economics, computing, and statistics. He was a key figure in the development of game theory, the concepts of cellular automata, and the digital computer. He is definitely one of the candidates to write several biographical articles of, each with a…
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