The Seattle Jewish Film Festival presents the film about Stanisław Ulam Adventures of a Mathematician (2020, 102′), directed by Thor Klein. Dr. Ulam was a Polish-American who participated in the WWII Manhattan Project and later made crucial theoretical and design contributions to the development of the hydrogen bomb. His family in Poland perished in the Holocaust.
Stanisław Ulam was a brilliant mathematician and a member of the famous Polish Lwów School of Mathematics, active in the 1920s and 1930s in his native Lwów (now Lviv in Ukraine). After being invited by John von Neuman to Princeton in 1935, he spent three years at Harvard. While working on the Manhattan project, he invented the Monte Carlo and cellular automaton methods of computation. After the war he worked on the hydrogen bomb and originated the Teller-Ulam design for thermonuclear weapons. He resumed his academic career in 1950s teaching at Harvard, MIT, UCSD and University of Colorado.
The movie, based on Ulam’s autobiography, also named Adventures of a Mathematician, focuses on moral dilemmas of being involved in the nuclear weapon development after the WWII ended. While some scientists resigned, others considered the work their duty in the nuclear race with the Soviet Union.
Tickets $15, streaming by SJFF, in Polish and English with English subtitles