Adventures of a Mathematician

By S. M. Ulam,

Book cover of Adventures of a Mathematician

Book description

This autobiography of mathematician Stanislaw Ulam, one of the great scientific minds of the twentieth century, tells a story rich with amazingly prophetic speculations and peppered with lively anecdotes. As a member of the Los Alamos National Laboratory from 1944 on, Ulam helped to precipitate some of the most dramatic…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked Adventures of a Mathematician as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Ulam was a Polish mathematical prodigy, publishing significant mathematics by the time he was 20. He was part of the rich Polish math community centered around Stefan Banach. Unlike most, he was heading to the United States in 1939 (with his younger brother) when Germany invaded Poland. All the rest of his family were murdered by the Nazis. He on the other hand ended up in Los Alamos, providing critical help on the Manhattan Project. Later in life, he wrote this book, his autobiography. Based on his history, one could well think that it would be a book full of…

From Thomas' list on for mathematical inspiration.

This is my favorite autobiography by a mathematician – admittedly a pretty small genre. Stan Ulam was a brilliant theoretical mathematician working in very abstract areas of set theory. But this gentle “theoretician” developed the critical ideas leading to the hydrogen bomb and pioneered the use of computer simulations in science, back in the days when computers were room-sized beasts with less computational power than your cellphone.

I was thrilled to learn that this book was made into a feature film in 2020. I cannot imagine it was easy to get a studio to greenlight this project. I make it…

From Steven's list on mathematical and algorithmic thinking.

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