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John von Neumann American mathematician, physicist, computer scientist, engineer and polymath.

John von Neumann : The Man Who Revolutionized Computers

John von Neumann (1903-1957)

John von Neumann was a Hungarian-American scientific personality. He was a very famous scientist, mathematician, computer scientist, physicist, polymath, and engineer. Neumann gave significant contributions to almost every field he entered like functional analysis in mathematics, quantum mechanics in physics, and linear programming in computer science, etc. von was said to be the last representative of a generation of great mathematicians. 

Time and place of birth 

John was born on 28 December 1908 in Budapest in the kingdom of Hungary. 

Early life 

Von was born in a rich Jewish family. His father’s name was Neumann Miksa (in the Hungarian language family’s name comes first before the person’s name). von’s father was an established banker and held the Doctorate in Law. John’s mother’s name was Kann Margit. In 1913 John’s family turned into a noble family of the Austro-Hungarian empire by the order of emperor Franz Joseph.

When Neumann was just 6 years old he can easily divide two-digit numbers in his head. At the age of 8, he knew about differential and integral calculus. By the age of 15, he started learning advanced calculus. 

Adulthood 

In 1928 as a privatdozent John started giving lectures at the Berlin University. John was the youngest person to ever be selected for this post in any subject. Neumann married Mariette Kovesi in 1930 and this marriage lasted only seven years.

In 1938 he married a computer programmer named Klara Dan. In 1933 he became a professor of mathematics at New Jersey’s Institute for Advanced Studies. In 1937 officially he became a US citizen. 

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Death 

Von died on 8 February 1957, in Washington D.C. The United States. 

Education and career 

In 1914 von took admission at the Lutheran school. At the age of 19, he had already published two mathematical papers. His father wanted that his son becomes a chemical engineer. That’s why he gave the entrance test at ETH Zurich because there were no degree courses at that time at the Berlin University.

In 1923 he passed this test and in the same year, he took admission to Pazmany Peter University in Budapest as a candidate of P.hD in mathematics. In 1933 he became a professor of mathematics in an Institute in New Jersey, US. von remained on this post for a lifetime.

Interesting facts about John von Neumann 

  • John worked on the Manhattan Project with Einstein. 
  • He studied mathematics under David Hilbert at the University of Gottingen. 
  • John wanted to become a lieutenant in the US army; eventually, he passed the test but was rejected on the behalf of his age. 

Mathematical achievements 

von Neumann is known for his abelian von Neumann algebra, affiliated operator, Birkhoff-von Neumann theorem, von Neumann paradox, continuous geometry, game theory, and mathematical economics. He gave significant contributions in all these fields of mathematics. 

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Contribution in mathematics 

His major known works in maths are given below;

Affiliated operator 

The affiliated operator is a theory founded by Murray and von Neumann. In this theory, von Neumann algebra is a technique for using unbounded operators to study modules generated by a single vector. 

Birkhoff-von neumann theorem 

This theorem states that a doubly stochastic matrix is a convex combination of permutation matrices. 

Continuous Geometry 

An analog of complex projective geometry is known as continuous Geometry. It was founded by von Neumann. 

Game theory 

John was the founder of game theory in this theory mathematical models of strategic interaction among rational decision-makers are being studied. 

Mathematical economics 

The methods which are used to represent theories and analyze problems in mathematics are known as mathematical economics. 

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Books written by von Neumann 

  • Theory of games and economic behavior 
  • Mathematical foundation of quantum mechanics 
  • The computer and the brain 
  • Continuous geometry 
  • Functional operators 
  • Invariant measures 
  • The Neumann compendium 
  • Collected works. 3. Rings of operators 
  • Shock hydrodynamics and blast waves 

Awards 

  • Enrico Fermi award in 1956 
  • Medal of Freedom in 1956 
  • Medal for Merit in 1946 
  • Navy distinguished civilian service award in 1946 
  • Bocher Memorial Prize in 1936 

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Citizenships 

  • Hungarian (1903-1937)
  • American (1937-1957)

Quotes by John von Neumann 

There’s no sense in being precise when you don’t even know what you are talking about. 

John von Neumann 

All stable processes we shall predict. All unstable processes we shall control. 

John von Neumann 

You don’t have to be responsible for the world that you’re in. 

John von Neumann 

There probably is a God. many things are easier to explain if there is than if there isn’t.

John von Neumann 

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FAQ 

What was John von Neumann most famous for?

John is best known for his contribution to the early development of computers. 

Who invented Game theory?

John von Nuemann 

What was John von Neumann’s IQ?

190, which is considered a super genius. 

Is von Neumann’s architecture still used?

Yes, this design is still used in most computers. 

See also 

John was one of the smartest people ever lived on this earth. He was born in Hungary but became a US citizen in the latter half of his life. He is best known for his contribution to the development of computers. 

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