Mary Tsingou

Mary Tsingou
Born Mary Tsingou
(1928-10-14)14 October 1928
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Citizenship United States
Alma mater University of Wisconsin
University of Michigan
Known for Fermi–Pasta–Ulam–Tsingou problem
Scientific career
Fields Physics
Scientific computing
Institutions Los Alamos National Laboratory

Mary Tsingou (married name: Mary Tsingou-Menzel; born October 14, 1928)[1] is an American physicist and mathematician of Greek ancestry. She is known for being one of the first programmers on the MANIAC computer at Los Alamos National Laboratory and for work in conjunction with Enrico Fermi, John Pasta, and Stanislaw Ulam which became the inspiration for the fields of chaos theory and scientific computing.


Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, her parents moved to the US from Bulgaria and were Greek. She spent several years in Bulgaria before returning to the US to attend high school and college. Menzel attended the University of Wisconsin where she majored in mathematics and education.

She is known in the computational physics community for having helped in the coding of the Fermi–Pasta–Ulam–Tsingou problem at the Los Alamos National Laboratory while working as a programmer in the MANIAC group.[2][3] The result was an important stepping stone for chaos theory.

After Fermi's death, James L. Tuck and Tsingou-Menzel repeated the original FPU results and provided strong indication that the nonlinear FPU problem might be integrable.[4]

In 2008, a paper published in Physics Today called to rename the FPU problem to the FPUT problem to give her proper credit for her contribution. Subsequent papers referencing the FPUT problem reflect this change.[5][6]


See also


  1. Mary Tsingou Menzel. IEEE Global History Network: Oral Histories. Accessed Nov 2012.
  2. Fermi, E.; Pasta, J.; Ulam, S. (1955). "Studies of Nonlinear Problems" (PDF). (Accessed Nov 2012. ). Document LA-1940. Also appeared in Collected Works of Enrico Fermi, University of Chicago Press, Vol.II,978–988,1965. Note: In Fermi's case, this work is postmortem, published after his death in 1954.
  3. Fermi, E. et. al (1955). _______ . Front page: "Work done by: E. Fermi J. Pasta S. Ulam M. Tsingou"; and footnote: "We wish to thank Miss Mary Tsingou .... for running the computations on the Los Alamos MANIAC machine, ..."
  4. J. L. Tuck; M. T. Menzel (1972). "The Superperiod of the Nonlinear Weighted String (FPU) Problem". Advances in Mathematics. 9: 399–407. doi:10.1016/0001-8708(72)90024-2.
  5. Fermi–Pasta–Ulam nonlinear lattice oscillations. Scholarpedia, doi:10.4249/scholarpedia.5538. Accessed Nov 2012.
  6. T Dauxois (January 2008). "Fermi, Pasta, Ulam, and a mysterious lady" (PDF). Physics Today. 61: 55. arXiv:0801.1590. Bibcode:2008PhT....61a..55D. doi:10.1063/1.2835154.
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