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Science, Computers, and People [electronic resource] : From the Tree of Mathematics / by Stanislaw M. Ulam ; edited by Mark C. Reynolds, Gian-Carlo Rota.
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Boston, MA : Birkhäuser Boston, 1986.
XXII, 266 p. online resource.
STANISLAW MARCIN ULAM, or Stan as his friends called him, was one of those great creative mathematicians whose interests ranged not only over all fields of mathematics, but over the physical and biological sciences as well. Like his good friend "Johnny" von Neumann, and unlike so many of his peers, Ulam is unclassifiable as a pure or applied mathematician. He never ceased to find as much beauty and excitement in the applications of mathematics as in working in those rarefied regions where there is a total un­ concern with practical problems. In his Adventures of a Mathematician Ulam recalls playing on an oriental carpet when he was four. The curious patterns fascinated him. When his father smiled, Ulam remembers thinking: "He smiles because he thinks I am childish, but I know these are curious patterns. I know something my father does not know." The incident goes to the heart of Ulam's genius. He could see quickly, in flashes of brilliant insight, curious patterns that other mathematicians could not see. "I am the type that likes to start new things rather than improve or elaborate," he wrote. "I cannot claim that I know much of the technical material of mathematics.
1 The Applicability of Mathematics
2 Physics for Mathematicians
3 Ideas of Space and Space-Time
4 Philosophical Implications of Some Recent Scientific Discoveries
5 A First Look at Computing: A Personal Retrospective
6 Computers in Mathematics
7 Experiments in Chess on Electronic Computing Machines: Some Early Efforts
8 Computations in Parallel
9 Patterns of Growth of Figures
10 More on Patterns of Growth
11 How to Formulate Mathematically the Problems of the Rate of Evolution
12 Some Further Ideas and Prospects in Biomathematics
13 Further Applications of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences
14 Thermonuclear Devices
15 The Orion Project
16 John von Neumann, 1903–1957
17 Von Neumann: The Interaction of Mathematics and Computing
18 John von Neumann on Computers and the Brain
19 Gamow and Mathematics: Personal Reminiscences
20 Marian Smoluchowski and the Theory of Probabilities in Physics
21 Kazimierz Kuratowski
22 Stefan Banach
23 A Concluding Paean.
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