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Stanislaw Ulam (1909 – 1984)


Polish-American mathematician who participated in the Manhattan Project and proposed the Teller–Ulam design of thermonuclear weapons.
Stanislaw Ulam
In its evolution from a more primitive nervous system, the brain, as an organ with ten or more billion neurons and many more connections between them must have changed and grown as a result of many accidents.
Ulam quotes
Mathematics may be a way of developing physically, that is anatomically, new connections in the brain.
Ulam
Very soon I discovered that if one gets a feeling for no more than a dozen other radiation and nuclear constants, one can imagine the subatomic world almost tangibly, and manipulate the picture dimensionally and qualitatively, before calculating more precise relationships.




Ulam Stanislaw quotes
With sixty professors there are roughly eighteen hundred pairs of professors. Out of that many pairs it was not surprising that there were some whose members did not like one another.
Ulam Stanislaw
Engraved on my memory is the day when I found him at noon staring staring intensely out of a window in our living room with a strange expression on his face. Peering unseeing into the garden, he said "I found a way to make it work." "What work?" I asked. "The Super" he replied. "It is a totally different scheme, and it will change the course of history."
Stanislaw Ulam quotes
Even the simplest calculation in the purest mathematics can have terrible consequences. Without the invention of the infinitesimal calculus most of our technology would have been impossible. Should we say therefore that calculus is bad?
Stanislaw Ulam
I am always amazed how much a certain facility with a special and apparently narrow technique can accomplish.
Ulam Stanislaw quotes
It is still an unending source of surprise for me to see how a few scribbles on a blackboard or on a sheet of paper could change the course of human affairs.
Ulam
The mathematicians know a great deal about very little and the physicists very little about a great deal.
Ulam Stanislaw
There may be such a thing as habitual luck. People who are said to be lucky at cards probably have certain hidden talents for those games in which skill plays a role. It is like hidden parameters in physics, this ability that does not surface and that I like to call "habitual luck".
Stanislaw Ulam
By an incredible coincidence, Gamow and Edward Condon, who had discovered simultaneously and independently the explanation of radioactivity (one in Russia, the other in this country), came to spend the the last ten years of their lives within a hundred yards of each other in Boulder.




Stanislaw Ulam quotes
For many years I was the youngest among my mathematical friends. It makes me melancholy to realize that I now have become the oldest in most groups of scientists.
Stanislaw Ulam
In mathematics, as in physics, so much depends on chance, on a propitious moment.
Ulam quotes
I am turned off when I see only formulas and symbols, and little text.
Ulam Stanislaw
It is not so much whether a theorem is useful that matters, but how elegant it is.
Ulam Stanislaw quotes
I was still very hopeful that much work lay ahead of me. Perhaps because much of what I had worked on or thought about had not yet been put into writing, I felt I still had things in reserve. Given this optimistic nature, I feel this way even now when I am past sixty.
Stanislaw Ulam
The first sign of senility is that a man forgets his theorems, the second sign is that he forgets to zip up, the third sign is that he forgets to zip down.
Stanislaw Ulam quotes
According to recent studies, at least one star out of three is multiple.
Stanislaw Ulam
I'm an agnostic. Sometimes I muse deeply on the forces that are for me invisible. When I am almost close to the idea of God, I feel immediately estranged by the horrors of this world, which he seems to tolerate...
Ulam Stanislaw
What exactly is mathematics? Many have tried but nobody has really succeeded in defining mathematics; it is always something else.


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