New York City, U.S.
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Institutions||Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign|
|Alma mater||New York University|
|Known for||Co-originating the Fermi–Pasta–Ulam experiment at the Los Alamos National Laboratory|
John R. Pasta (1918–1984) was an American Computational physicist and computer scientist who is remembered today for the Fermi–Pasta–Ulam experiment, a result much discussed among physicists and researchers in dynamical systems and chaos theory, and as the head of the department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from 1964 to 1970.
Pasta was raised in New York City and did work as a real estate title examiner before becoming a New York City police officer from 1941 to 1942. Pasta followed his interest in physics and attended the City College of New York. During the depression Pasta was forced to drop out of the City College and find work, eventually being drafted into the Army during World War II, receiving the Bronze Star.
Following the war, Pasta was able to return to school at the City College through the GI Bill. Eventually receiving his PhD in theoretical physics from New York University in 1951. That same year he worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
At Los Alamos National Laboratory Pasta would begin his work on his most famous projects.
After working on the MANIAC I, Pasta continued on to work in the project he is most known for, the Fermi–Pasta–Ulam experiment.
After working alongside Enrico Fermi and Stanislaw Ulam Pasta went on to work for the Atomic Energy Commission as the only computer expert, eventually developing the branch of mathematics and computers to an entire division.
||This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (March 2009)|
- K.K. Curtis et al., "John R. Pasta, 1918–1984," Annals of the History of Computing, Vol. 5, July 1983, pp. 224–238. doi:10.1109/MAHC.1983.10078
- Computer Networks: The Heralds of Resource Sharing, documentary c. 1972 about the ARPANET. Includes footage of John Pasta.
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