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Kurt Gödel
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Kurt Friedrich Gödel

(1906-04-28)April 28, 1906
Died January 14, 1978(1978-01-14) (aged 71)
Princeton, New Jersey, U.S.
Citizenship Czechoslovak, Austrian, United States
Alma mater University of Vienna
Known for Gödel's incompleteness theorems, constructible universe, Gödel's completeness theorem, ω-consistent theory, the consistency of the continuum hypothesis with ZFC, Gödel metric, Gödel's ontological proof, Gödel–Dummett logic, slingshot argument
Spouse(s) Adele Nimbursky (married 1938)
Scientific career
Fields Mathematics, Mathematical logic, Philosophy, Physics
Institutions Institute for Advanced Study
Thesis Über die Vollständigkeit des Logikkalküls (On the Completeness of the Calculus of Logic) (1929)
Doctoral advisor Hans Hahn
Kurt Gödel signature.svg

Kurt Friedrich Gödel (April 28, 1906 – January 14, 1978) was an Austro-Hungarian-born Austrian, and later American, logician, mathematician, and philosopher. Considered along with Aristotle and Gottlob Frege to be one of the most significant logicians in history, Gödel had an immense effect upon scientific and philosophical thinking in the 20th century, a time when others such as Bertrand Russell, Alfred North Whitehead, and David Hilbert were analyzing the use of logic and set theory to understand the foundations of mathematics pioneered by Georg Cantor.

Gödel published his two incompleteness theorems in 1931 when he was 25 years old, one year after finishing his doctorate at the University of Vienna.

To prove this theorem, Gödel developed a technique now known as Gödel numbering, which codes formal expressions as natural numbers.

Later life and death

Kurt Gödel

Later in his life, Gödel suffered periods of mental instability and illness. He had an obsessive fear of being poisoned; he would eat only food that his wife, Adele, prepared for him.

Late in 1977, she was hospitalized for six months and could no longer prepare her husband's food. In her absence, he refused to eat, eventually starving to death. He weighed 29 kilograms (65 lb) when he died.

His death certificate reported that he died of "malnutrition and inanition caused by personality disturbance" in Princeton Hospital on January 14, 1978. He was buried in Princeton Cemetery. Adele's death followed in 1981.


The Kurt Gödel Society, founded in 1987, was named in his honor. It is an international organization for the promotion of research in the areas of logic, philosophy, and the history of mathematics. The University of Vienna hosts the Kurt Gödel Research Center for Mathematical Logic. The Association for Symbolic Logic has invited an annual Kurt Gödel lecturer each year since 1990.

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