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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Kurt Gödel and John von Neumann Two Of The Greatest Mathematicians Resting In Peace Within 10 Feet Of Each Other

John von Neumann

John von Neumann (Hungarian Margittai Neumann János Lajos; born December 28, 1903 in Budapest, Austria-Hungary; died February 8, 1957 in Washington D.C., United States) was an Austria-Hungary-born American mathematician who made contributions to quantum physics, functional analysis, set theory, topology, economics, computer science, numerical analysis, hydrodynamics (of explosions), statistics and many other mathematical fields as one of history's outstanding mathematicians.

Kurt Gödel

Kurt Gödel (IPA: [kuɹt gøːdl]) (April 28, 1906 Brünn, Austria-Hungary (now Brno, Czech Republic) – January 14, 1978 Princeton, New Jersey) was an Austrian American mathematician and philosopher.

One of the most significant logicians of all time, Gödel's work has had 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 attempting to use logic and set theory to understand the foundations of mathematics.

Gödel was shy, withdrawn and eccentric. He would wear warm, winter clothing in the middle of summer. In the middle of winter, he would leave all of the windows open in his home because he believed that conspirators were trying to assassinate him with poison gas. He was a somewhat sickly man and was prescribed specific diets and medical regimens by doctors, but Gödel often ignored their advice or even would do the opposite of what his prescription indicated. This caused him to suffer further illness. In the 1940s he suffered from a bleeding ulcer, but his distrust of doctors led him to delay treatment; he risked death and was saved only by emergency blood transfusion.

Amongst his delusions was the belief that unknown villains were trying to kill him by poisoning his food. For this reason, Gödel would eat only his wife's cooking, refusing even to eat his own cooking for fear of being poisoned.

Late in 1977, Adele became incapacitated due to illness and so could no longer cook for Gödel. Due to his paranoia, he refused to eat any food at all and thus died of "malnutrition and inanition caused by personality disturbance" in Princeton Hospital on January 14, 1978. He weighed 65 pounds.

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