Stanislaw Ulam was a Polish-American mathematician whose work spanned many areas of both continuous and discrete mathematics. He did pioneering research in chaos theory and Monte Carlo algorithms, and also invented the concept of a measurable cardinal in set theory. His essential modification of Edward Teller’s original H-bomb design is used by nearly all the world’s thermonuclear weapons, while he co-originated the Graph Reconstruction conjecture. His name is also associated with the equally notorious 3n+1 conjecture. Thus he was involved in some strange corners of math.
Today Ken and I want to talk about some strange facts observed by Ulam and others that we did not know or fully appreciate.
Perhaps you can use them, perhaps you may enjoy them, but they are all kind of fun. At least we think so. Ulam’s autobiographyAdventures of a Mathematician shows his sense of fun, and he was…
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