Poland: where real superheroes come from. Mathematicians worth knowing

A. Ochman
Estimated reading time: 2 min

In the “Academy of Superheroes” you will find people in love with the queen of sciences. Outstanding Polish mathematicians such as Marian Rejewski or Stanisław Ulam changed the world! What did they do?

Math on the battlefield

Marian Rejewski is a perfect example of a superhero who can save millions of people during an armed conflict without even taking up arms. How it’s possible? All thanks to mathematics, and more precisely due to the ability to break codes. Thanks to Rejewski’s work, the war lasted a few years shorter. How did his skills become useful to the army?

A few years before the start of World War II, the Polish army organized a secret cryptology course for students of mathematics. One of the participants was Rejewski, who stood out from the group. After graduation, Rejewski found a job at the Cipher Bureau of the General Staff of the Polish Army.

After two years, this institution was closed. But Marian got a chance to work at the Cipher Bureau in Warsaw. There, together with his associates, he had to face his greatest opponent – Enigma. It was the famous German encryption machine. The unequal fight against time finally succeeded. The Enigma cipher was broken for the first time on New Year’s Eve 1932. This is what Polish mathematicians have done.

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Poland: where real superheroes come from. Mathematicians and today’s technology

The works of Stanisław Ulam, a genius Polish mathematician, enabled the technological development that we are witnessing today. This is not an exaggeration! Most often, the name of this outstanding Polish mathematician is mentioned in the context of weapons that were to end all armed conflicts forever. Why? Because Stanisław Ulam is one of the greatest minds of the twentieth century who supported the American nuclear weapons program.

He received an invitation to participate in an important and mysterious research project from a friend. The whole thing was shrouded in an aura of mystery and uniqueness. When he arrived at the Los Alamos laboratory, he was placed at the center of the US nuclear bomb program. It was a real basin of scientists, where the best mathematicians and physicists in the world worked at that time. Although physics was a new experience for Ulam, it was there that the Polish scientist entered the top scientific elite of the world. Thanks to his unconventional approach to the subject, he was able to solve problems together with them.

You can read the entire story of Polish mathematicians in the free e-book “Academy of Superheroes”. You can download it HERE


Agnieszka Ochman

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