On 17 November 1902, Eugene Paul Wigner (1902–1995) was born in Budapest, Hungary. As noted in some sources, Dr. Wigner’s secondary education was at the Lutheran Gymnasium of Budapest, where he first met John von Neumann (1903–1957).
The 1963 Nobel Prize in Physics was co-awarded to Prof. Wigner, along with Johannes Jensen (1907–1973) and Maria Goeppert-Mayer (1906–1972), “for his contributions to the theory of the atomic nucleus and the elementary particles, particularly through the discovery and application of fundamental symmetry principles.”
Quote from The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences (1960):
“It is … a miracle that in spite of the baffling complexity of the world, certain regularities in the events could be discovered … [I]t is not at all natural that ‘laws of nature’ exist, much less that man is able to discover them … The present writer had occasion … to call attention to the succession of layers of ‘laws of nature,’ each layer containing more general and more encompassing laws than the previous one and its discovery constituting a deeper penetration into the structure of the universe than the layers recognized before. However, the point which is most significant in the present context is that all these laws of nature contain, in even their remotest consequences, only a small part of our knowledge of the inanimate world. All the laws of nature are conditional statements …”
—Larsson, Ulf. “Cultures of Creativity: the Centennial Exhibition of the Nobel Prize.” V.2. (Sagamore Beach, MA: Science History Pub./USA, 2001), 167. http://goo.gl/FC6o2j.
—Schechter, Bruce. “My Brain is Open: The Mathematical Journeys of Paul Erdos.” (New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, 1998), 25. http://goo.gl/YPD6Pa.
—Wigner, Eugene P. “The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences.” New York University. 11 May 1959. Communications on Pure and Applied Mathematics 13.1 (1960): 1-14. Image: http://2016.wigner.mta.hu/en/wigner