- Von Neumann , John
- (1903–1957) Hungarian–American mathematicianJohn (originally Johann) Von Neumann was born in Budapest, Hungary, and studied at the University of Berlin, the Berlin Institute of Technology, and the University of Budapest, where he obtained his doctorate in 1926. He was Privatdozent(nonstipendiary lecturer) at Berlin (1927–29) and taught at Hamburg (1929–30). He left Europe in 1930 to work in Princeton, first at the university and later at the Institute for Advanced Study. From 1943 he was a consultant on the atomic-bomb project.Von Neumann may have been one of the last people able to span the fields of pure and applied mathematics. His first work was in set theory (the subject of his doctoral thesis). Here he improved the axiomatization given by Ernst Zermelo and Abraham Fraenkel. In 1928 he published his first paper in the field for which he is best known, the mathematical theory of games. This work culminated in 1944 with the publication of The Theory of Games and Economic Behavior, which Von Neumann had coauthored with Oskar Morgenstern. Not all the results in this work were novel, but it was the first time the field had been treated in such a large-scale and systematic way.Apart from the theory of games Von Neumann did important work in the theory of operators. Dissatisfied with the resources then available for solving the complex computational problems that arose in hydrodynamics, Von Neumann developed a broad knowledge of the design of computers and with his interest in the general theory of automata became one of the founders of a whole new discipline. He was much interested in the general role of science and technology in society and this led to his becoming increasingly involved in high-level government scientific committees. Von Neumann died at the relatively early age of 54 from cancer.
Scientists. Academic. 2011.