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Eugene Wigner

Physicist and Mathematician.

Eugene Paul "E. P." Wigner (November 17, 1902 – January 1, 1995), was a Hungarian American theoretical physicist and mathematician.

He received a share of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963 "for his contributions to the theory of the atomic nucleus and the elementary particles, particularly through the discovery and application of fundamental symmetry principles"; the other half of the award was shared between Maria Goeppert-Mayer and J. Hans D. Jensen. Wigner is important for having laid the foundation for the theory of symmetries in quantum mechanics as well as for his research into the structure of the atomic nucleus. It was Eugene Wigner who first identified Xe-135 "poisoning" in nuclear reactors, and for this reason it is sometimes referred to as Wigner poisoning. Wigner is also important for his work in pure mathematics, having authored a number of theorems.


1.) Andrew Szanton, ed. (1992). The Recollections of Eugene P. Wigner As Told to Andrew Szanton. Basic Books. pp. 60-61. ISBN 9780306443268. "Neither did I want to be a clergyman. I liked a good sermon. But religion tells people how to behave and that I could never do. Clergymen also had to assume and advocate the presence of God, and proofs of God's existence seemed to me quite unsatisfactory. People claimed that He had made our earth. Well, how had He made it? With an earth-making machine? Someone once asked Saint Augustine, "What did the Lord do before he created the world?" And Saint Augustine is said to have answered, "He created Hell for people who ask such questions." A retort perhaps made in jest, but I knew of none better. I saw that I could not know anything of God directly, that His presence was a matter of belief, I did not have that belief, and preaching without belief is repulsive. So I could not be a clergyman, however many people might gain salvation. And my parents never pressed the point."

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