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Journey to the Edge of Reason: The Life of Kurt Gödel

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A remarkable account of Kurt Gödel, weaving together creative genius, mental illness, political corruption, and idealism in the face of the turmoil of war and upheaval.

At age 24, a brilliant Austrian-born mathematician published a mathematical result that shook the world. Nearly a hundred years after Kurt Gödel's famous 1931 paper "On Formally Undecidable Propositions" appeared, his proof that every mathematical system must contain propositions that are true - yet never provable within that system - continues to pose profound questions for mathematics, philosophy, computer science, and artificial intelligence. His close friend Albert Einstein, with whom he would walk home every day from Princeton's famous Institute for Advanced Study, called him "the greatest logician since Aristotle." He was also a man who felt profoundly out of place in his time, rejecting the entire current of 20th century philosophical thought in his belief that mathematical truths existed independent of the human mind, and beset by personal demons of anxiety and paranoid delusions that would ultimately lead to his tragic end from self-starvation.

Drawing on previously unpublished letters, diaries, and medical records, Journey to the Edge of Reason offers the most complete portrait yet of the life of one of the 20th century's greatest thinkers. Stephen Budiansky's account brings to life the remarkable world of philosophical and mathematical creativity of pre-war Vienna, and documents how it was barbarically extinguished by the Nazis. He charts Gödel's own hair's-breadth escape from Nazi Germany to the scholarly idyll of Princeton; and the complex, gently humorous, sensitive, and tormented inner life of this iconic but previously enigmatic giant of modern science. Weaving together Gödel's public and private lives, this is a tale of creative genius, mental illness, political corruption, and idealism in the face of the turmoil of war and upheaval.

Συγγραφέας: Budiansky Stephen
Εκδότης: OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS
Σελίδες: 368
ISBN: 9780198866336
Εξώφυλλο: Σκληρό Εξώφυλλο
Αριθμός Έκδοσης: 1
Έτος έκδοσης: 2021

List of Maps and Illustrations
Prologue
1:Dreams of an Empire
2:Alle echten Wiener sind aus Brünn
3:Vienna 1924
4:Floating in Midair
5:Undecidable Truths
6:The Scholar's Paradise
7:Fleeing the Reich
8:New Worlds
9:Plato's Shadow
10:"If the World is Constructed Rationally"
Appendix: Gödel's Proof
Notes
Bibliography
Acknowledgments
Photo Credits
Index

Stephen Budiansky is the author of eighteen books of biography, history, and science. From 1979 to 1982 he was a magazine editor and radio producer at the American Chemical Society in Washington, D.C.; from 1982 to 1985 he was Washington correspondent and then Washington editor of the scientific journal Nature. He joined the staff of U.S. News & World Report, where he worked in a variety of writing and editing positions, including national security correspondent, foreign editor, and deputy editor. Since 1998 he has been a full-time author and independent scholar, and in 2011 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in the Creative Arts as a writer of general nonfiction. His books include Oliver Wendell Holmes: A Life in War, Law, and Ideas (2019); Code Warriors: NSA's Codebreakers and the Secret Intelligence War Against the Soviet Union (2016); and Mad Music: Charles Ives, the Nostalgic Rebel (2014).

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