Artifact Details

Title

Isaacson, Eugene SIAM oral history

Catalog Number

102746798

Type

Text

Date

2003-09-10

Contributor

Davis, Philip, Interviewer
Isaacson, Eugene, Interviewee

Publisher

SIAM and U.S. Department of Energy

Place of Publication

New York, New York, United States

Extent

17 p.

Format

PDF

Copyright Holder

Computer History Museum

Description

Eugene Isaacson spent his entire educational life in New York City: he attended public schools in Brooklyn (where had an outstanding high school math teacher, Edna Kramer), did his undergraduate studies at City College and his graduate work at NYU. In 1949 he completed his doctoral dissertation on the motion of water waves over a sloped beach, which grew out of the interest of J. J. Stoker, Kurt Friedrichs, Fritz John, and Hans Lewy in wave motions and was supported by the Office of Naval Research. His first computing experience came on one of the early UNIVAC I machines purchased by the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC); he preceded John Wheeler (and later Edward Teller) as the project chief for this machine. During World War II, Isaacson worked on the Mathematical Tables Project and joined the Courant Institute in 1944, where he spent the rest of his career. Despite an initial interest in point-set topology, Isaacson became interested in and did his most productive work in applied mathematics. He led a team to help the Harvard computing laboratory discover the computational needs for scientific work while it was developing (along with IBM) the Mark 1 computer. Isaacson is perhaps best known to many for the textbook he coauthored with Herb Keller, Analysis of Numerical Methods, and for his time as editor of Mathematics of Computation and the SIAM Journal of Numerical Analysis. He has collaborated with a variety of scholars including Gideon Zwas, Eli Turkel, Zipora Alterman, David Houghton, and Akira Kasahara.

Category

Transcription

Subject

Wave motion; UNIVAC; Mathematics Tables Project; Mark I (Computer)

Collection Title

Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) oral history collection

Credit

Gift of SIAM and the US Department of Energy

Lot Number

X6673.2013