David Hilbert

The Beautiful Mind of John Forbes Nash

The Beautiful Mind of John Forbes Nash

On June 13, 1928, American mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr. was born. Nash made fundamental contributions to game theory, differential geometry, and the study of partial differential equations. His work has provided insight into the factors that govern chance and decision-making inside complex systems found in everyday life. John Nash is the only person to be awarded both the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences and the Abel Prize. “You don’t have…
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It’s Computable – thanks to Alonzo Church

It’s Computable – thanks to Alonzo Church

You know, the fact that you can read your email on a cell phone as well as on your desktop computer or almost any other computer connected to the internet, in principle is possible thanks to mathematician Alonzo Church, who gave the proof (together with Alan Turing) that everything that is computable on the simple model of a Turing Machine, also is computable with any other ‘computer model’. Church studied at Princeton…
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Churchill’s Best Horse in the Barn – Alan Turing, Codebreaker and AI Pioneer

Churchill’s Best Horse in the Barn – Alan Turing, Codebreaker and AI Pioneer

On June 23, 1912, English computer scientist, mathematician, logician, and cryptanalyst,Alan Mathison Turing was born. Outside the world of computer science or mathematics the name of probably the most influential figure and in some sense the father of all computing technology Alan Turing is hardly known. But it was him, who laid the foundations of the theory of computing. Already in the 1930s, when no digital electronic computer had ever been built,…
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Kurt Gödel Shaking the Very Foundations of Mathematics

Kurt Gödel Shaking the Very Foundations of Mathematics

On April 28, 1906, Kurt Gödel was born. He was one of the most significant logicians of all time. Gödel made an immense impact upon scientific and philosophical thinking in the 20th century, a time when many, such as Bertrand Russell, A. N. Whitehead and David Hilbert, were pioneering the use of logic and set theory to understand the foundations of mathematics. “Either mathematics is too big for the human mind, or the human…
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Kolmogorov and the Foundations of Probability Theory

Kolmogorov and the Foundations of Probability Theory

On April 25, 1903, Soviet mathematician Andrey Nikolaevich Kolmogorov was born. He was one of the most important mathematicians of the 20th century, who advanced various scientific fields, among them probability theory, topology, intuitionistic logic, turbulence, classical mechanics, algorithmic information theory and computational complexity. “The epistemological value of probability theory is based on the fact that chance phenomena, considered collectively and on a grand scale, create non-random regularity.” – Andrey Kolmogorov, Limit Distributions…
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Emmy Noether and the Love for Mathematics

Emmy Noether and the Love for Mathematics

On April 23, 1882, German mathematician and physicist Emmy Noether was born, who is best known for her groundbreaking contributions to abstract algebra and theoretical physics. Albert Einstein called her the most important woman in the history of mathematics, as she revolutionized the theories of rings, fields, and algebras. “My methods are really methods of working and thinking; this is why they have crept in everywhere anonymously.” Letter to Helmut Hasse (1931)…
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Georg Cantor and the Beauty of Infinity

Georg Cantor and the Beauty of Infinity

On March 3, 1845, German mathematician Georg Cantor, creator of the set theory was born. Set Theory is considered the fundamental theory of mathematics. He also proved that the real numbers are “more numerous” than the natural numbers, which was quite shocking for his contemporaries that there should be different numbers of infinity. “In mathematics the art of asking questions is more valuable than solving problems.” – Georg Cantor, Doctoral thesis (1867) Youth…
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Paul Bernays and the Unified Theory of Mathematics

Paul Bernays and the Unified Theory of Mathematics

On October 17, 1888, Swiss mathematician and logician Paul Isaac Bernays was born. Bernays made significant contributions to mathematical logic, axiomatic set theory, and the philosophy of mathematics. He was an assistant and close collaborator of David Hilbert.[6] Bernays is known for his attempts to develop a unified theory of mathematics. “Enlightened humanity has sought in rational definiteness its liberating refuge from the dominating influence of the merely authoritative. At the present time,…
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Emil Artin and Algebraic Number Theory

Emil Artin and Algebraic Number Theory

On March 3, 1898, Austrian mathematician Emil Artin was born. Artin was one of the leading mathematicians of the twentieth century. He is best known for his work on algebraic number theory, contributing largely to class field theory and a new construction of L-functions. He also contributed to the pure theories of rings, groups and fields. Early Years Emil Artin was born in Vienna to parents Emma Maria Artin, a soubrette on…
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Alexander Friedmann and the Expanding Universe

Alexander Friedmann and the Expanding Universe

On June 16, 1888, Russian mathematician and physicist Alexander Friedmann was born. Friedmann is best known for his pioneering theory that the universe was expanding, governed by a set of equations he developed now known as the Friedmann equations. The Youth of a Mathematician Alexander Friedmann was born to the composer and ballet dancer Alexander Friedmann and the pianist Ludmila Ignatievna Voyachek. However the parents divorced when Alexander was nine years old,…
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