• 1910 October 10
    (b.) -
    2003 September 24


An American physicist, mathematician, educator, author, and musician, he was born in Ithaca, New York. He studied physics at the University of G?ttingen and Cornell University, graduating in 1932. He received a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1935 under advisor John C. Slater. He taught at Stanford University as an instructor in the physics department from 1936 through 1940. During World War II he worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and became the leader of the theoretical division after the war. He received a letter written on March 11, 1947, from John von Neumann that outlined a technique for approximating complex problems being studied at Los Alamos by Stanisław Ulam. He used the massive IBM SSEC calculator for some of the first large-scale uses of what would be called the Monte Carlo method. In 1953 he joined the faculty of Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University. In 1956 he published a paper with Peter Lax proving the Lax?Richtmyer equivalence theorem. It is sometimes called the fundamental theorem of numerical analysis. Starting in 1964, he taught mathematics and physics at the University of Colorado at Boulder until his retirement in the early 1980s. He was the author of textbooks including Principles of Advanced Mathematical Physics in 1978. In 1990 he was awarded the Leroy P. Steele Prize from the American Mathematical Society for his book ?Difference Methods for Initial-Value Problems?. Other publications he authored or co-authored are: A Method for the Numerical Calculation of Hydrodynamic Shocks. Journal of Applied Physics, Vol. 21, No. 3., pp. 232?237.(Classic article on the numerical solution of hydrodynamic problems) with J. VonNeumann, (1950); "Taylor instability in a shock acceleration of compressible fluids", Communications on Pure and Applied Mathematics 13, 297?319. (Predicted the Richtmyer?Meshkov instability) (1960); ?Stability of a New Radio Flash Code. Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, NM? (LA-3864-MS) (1967); and ?Principles of Advanced Mathematical Physics? Vol. 1 & 2, Springer-Verlag, New York, (1978).
  • Date of Birth:

    1910 October 10
  • Date of Death:

    2003 September 24
  • Gender:

  • Noted For:

    Post-war leader of the theoretical division at Los Alamos National Laboratory; using the massive IBM SSEC calculator for some of the first large-scale uses of what would be called the Monte Carlo method
  • Category of Achievement:

  • More Info: