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Fermi, Pasta, Ulam and the Birth of Experimental Mathematics



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Abstract:

Figure 1. Surfing England’s Severn RiverClick to Enlarge ImageIn 1955, Enrico Fermi, John Pasta and Stanislav Ulam released a technical report entitled “Studies of Nonlinear Problems: I” that contained “a little discovery.” This modest claim ushered in the era of computational science and gave birth to nonlinear science. Today analyses of the FPU problem continue to lead to deeper insights into many areas—including the interplay between regular and chaotic behavior, heat conduction anomalies in low-dimensional systems and the origins of statistical mechanics.


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