Abel Wolman 1892–1989

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Abstract

Abel Wolman's life spanned nearly a century, and his contributions to society threequarters of a century. Frank Press, president of the National Academy of Sciences, called him “one of the great Americans of the twentieth century.”

Indeed, his life gives the lie to those who argue that history is shaped by converging forces, not by individual people. I was privileged to sit at his feet for only the last twenty of his years, so my perspective is truncated. But one thing is true: though he died at 96, I never knew him as an old man. His vitality, involvement and outlook were always youthful. His journals, which I saw as a secondary recipient, were consistently marked up with lines and exclamation marks.

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