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Francoise Ulam
FRANCOISE ARON ULAM Francoise Aron Ulam, or "F," as she was affectionately known, died April 30 at the age of 93 at El Castillo. She was born in Paris, France in 1918 and came to the United States in 1939 as an exchange student as war was breaking out in Europe. That began her remarkable odyssey as an eyewitness to history. She studied at Mills College and Mount Holyoke College, earning a Master's degree in Comparative Literature. In 1941 she met Stanislaw Ulam, a young Polish mathematician at Harvard, whom she married. In 1943 they were recruited to join the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos at its inception. In Los Alamos Francoise became part of the unique international community of scientists and mathematicians who changed history during the Atomic Age. Like many of the Manhattan Project wives, initially she knew very little about the purpose of the "Gadget," as the bomb was known at the time. She devoted herself to creating a home and raising a baby in the beautiful American Southwest where, as Stan put it "the air felt like champagne." The friendships and associations that the young couple developed in Los Alamos gave Francoise a global worldview that would last the rest of her life. When they later moved from Los Alamos to Santa Fe, their house on Old Santa Fe Trail became a gathering spot for the great scientists of the era. While she was quintessentially French until the end, Francoise took naturally to the relaxed individualism that Santa Fe often inspires, developing a taste for computers, yoga, feldenkrais, and natural foods decades before they became mainstream. F was as marked by her time as she was ahead of it, keeping engaged with her far- reaching interests and pursuits and emailing friends and family about them until her death. She was politically minded to her core and uncompromising in her ideals-although as a woman who lost family in the Nazi concentration camps, she was not idealistic. She had the quiet perspicacity of a woman married to a man whose personality was as outsized as his intellect. She was a trenchant observer of human events, from the mundane to the historic, and her individualistic charm and warm wisdom will be missed greatly by friends and family. She is survived by her daughter Claire Weiner and her son-in-law Dr. Steven Weiner, of Santa Fe; her granddaughter Rebecca Ulam Weiner and Rebecca's husband Drake Bennett of New York City; and her closest friend of 60 years, Betty Lilienthal. She was preceded in death by her husband Stan, who died in1984. The family is deeply grateful to the staff at El Castillo, EGIS, and PMS Hospice, Dr. Dow Suhre, and Dr. David Gonzales. She will be honored by her immediate family at a private service and buried in Paris alongside her husband and French family. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Santa Fe Institute or the Richardson Center for Global Engagement. Arrangements are under the direction of Berardinelli Family Funeral Service 1399 Luisa Street, Santa Fe, NM 87505 (505)984-8600 Please sign our guestbook for the family at:

Published by Santa Fe New Mexican on May 4, 2011.
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13 Entries
iwo labuda
December 2, 2015
Chers Amis et Famille Ulam ,

je suis de coeur avec Vous

Christopher Kowalczyk
( Szczecinek in Poland )
Christopher Kowalczyk
April 15, 2012
Growing up in Los Alamos, a visit to -- or from -- the Ulams was always a high point. All coversation suddenly became brighter and more exciting. They seemed to live on a higher plane. Later, as an adult, any visit I took back to Santa Fe that also included a chat with Francoise became special. She was always engaged and passionate, whether it was about a new artist, the stock market, or politics. My condolences to all of those who loved her.
Malcolm Hall
September 1, 2011
Dear Claire,

I am so sorry to hear of your mother's death. Though I met her only one time 25 years ago, we stayed in contact until the end, by letters in my non colloquial French, and by email. I hesitated to send her a Christmas card this past year, perhaps thinking it might be a burden on her to reply. I will miss her, but hope she did not suffer in her last days.
Helen Boss Heslop
May 12, 2011
Dear Claire,

It was a great honor to have known your mother and father. Wonderful, alive people, each unique and memorable.
May she rest with Stan in the life to which they have been called.

Marshall Fitz
Marshall Fitz
May 9, 2011
Dear Claire and family -- Francoise and Stan were both special people. It was a pleasure for Walter (who died in 2000 and who also worked with Stan) and me to know them both.
Maxine Goad (Mrs. Walter Goad)
Maxine Goad
May 8, 2011
CLaire..your mother was an extraordinary woman and personality..our thoughts are with you and the family.
Lynne and Don Moor
Lynne MOor
May 7, 2011
A wonderful friend but she never appreciated my attemps at speaking french. Our best to Claire and Steve Harold and Beverly Agnew
Harold & Beverly Agnew
May 6, 2011
Dear Claire,Rebecca and family,
I was one of Professor Gian-Carlo Rota's PhD. students at MIT in Applied Mathematics (I finished my PhD with Gianco in 1992,"Theory of Cubic Lattices")and knew both your father, Stan and Nick Metropolis very well. Your mother was essential to both the stability and fellowship of these great men. I am truly sorry to hear of her passing. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Dr Joseph S Oliveira
Dr Joseph Oliveira
May 5, 2011
Dear Claire, Rebecca and family,
Fancoise was a wonderful special person.
We have many dear memories of Franciose and Stan and all of you.
With our love,
Dan and Diana Mauldin (and all our family)
Dan Mauldin
May 4, 2011
Dear Claire and Rebecca and family,
What a beautifully written tribute to your Mom, Claire, and your Grandmother, Rebecca! She was a truly special lady! My condolences to you all.
Sincerely, Laura Ware
May 4, 2011
Thinking of all of you - Claire, Steve, Rebecca and Drake. Much love, Mark and Karin
Mark Humbert
May 4, 2011
We send the family of Francoise Ulam all of our love and condolences

Thinking of you,

James & Colleen Drake
James Drake
May 4, 2011
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