Another Father Of The Hydrogen Bomb

Stanislaw Ulam would have been 100 years old Friday. Even if you don't recognize the name, you are probably familiar with his work.

Stanislaw Ulam was a mathematician who helped design the hydrogen bomb.

He was a leading figure in the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos, N.M., the top secret project to develop the atomic bombs that ended World War II.

Later, with Edward Teller, he helped work out the design of the thermonuclear weapons that were at the heart of the Cold War.

Stanford University professor and Weekend Edition Math Guy Keith Devlin tells host Scott Simon about Ulam's influence during the last century.

Correction April 7, 2009

We said, "[T]here are actually two or three singularities. One of them is the one that Ulam came up with in a conversation in 1958 with John von Neumann." Stanislaw Ulam wrote about the conversation in 1958, but Von Neumann died in February 1957.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: