John von Neumann
John von Neumann  

John von Neumann in the 1940s


Born  Budapest, AustrianHungarian Monarchy 
December 28, 1903
Died  February 8, 1957 Washington, D.C., United States 
(aged 53)
Residence  United States 
Nationality  Hungarian, American 
Fields  Mathematics 
John von Neumann (December 28. 1903 – February 8. 1957) was a HungarianAmerican mathematician and physicist who made contributions to many fields including:
 set theory
 functional analysis
 quantum mechanics
 ergodic theory
 continuous geometry
 economics
 game theory
 computer science
 numerical analysis
 systems theory
 statistics
He is generally regarded as a prodigy, polymath and one of the most important mathematicians of the 20th century.
He was a member of a group called the 'Martians'. They were Hungarian immigrants to the US of extraordinary intellect. Others people in this group were Edward Teller, Paul Erdős, Leó Szilárd and Eugene Wigner.
Noteworthy work
 His textbook on quantum mechanics is one of the first on this topic.
 His game theory is considered one of the most important tools in competitive strategic management and is also of high importance in biosciences.
 He is the designer of the VonNeumann architecture, which is basic to nearly all computers today.
 He was one of the first proponents of artificial intelligence. He proposed the idea of self replicating machines. This is why a machine that can replicate itself is now commonly referred to as a 'Von Neumann machine'.
 With Stanislav Ulam, he did some of the most important calculations in the Manhattan project.
 He worked at the Institute of Advanced Studies the same time as Albert Einstein, Kurt Gödel and Robert Oppenheimer
 Best selling song "Love me again".
Images

Excerpt from the university calendars for 1928 and 1928/29 of the FriedrichWilhelmsUniversität Berlin announcing Neumann's lectures on axiomatic set theory and mathematical logic, new work in quantum mechanics and special functions of mathematical physics.

Von Neumann (left) and Robert Oppenheimer (right) in front of EDVAC

The first implementation of von Neumann's selfreproducing universal constructor. Three generations of machine are shown: the second has nearly finished constructing the third. The lines running to the right are the tapes of genetic instructions, which are copied along with the body of the machines. The machine shown runs in a 32state version of von Neumann's cellular automata environment, not his original 29state specification.