Kurt Godel - great scientist on par with Albert Einstein


Einstein once told everyone that he went to his office at Princeton University just to have the privilege of walking home with Kurt Godel.

In 1933, Einstein came to the United States and spent the last 25 years of his life in Princeton, New Jersey. Working at the Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS), he walks daily from his house at 115 Mercer Street to the office.

About a decade later, people around the region saw him often walking with a young colleague. They talk to each other in German. Einstein considered the boy on a par with him. It was Kurt Godel - the mathematician who discovered the Incompleteness Theorem when he was only 25 years old.


Godel announced the Law of Imperfection when he was only 25 years old. (Photo: Getty).

Scientists have identified the Incompleteness theorem that created the deepest revolution in cognition in the 20th century.

In June 1975, the Office of the White House Press Secretary announced that President Gerald R. Ford had selected a list of those who were awarded the US National Medal of Science. One of them is Austrian-born mathematician Kurt Godel. In addition to the nickname Mr. Why was given by parents, Godel is also known by the abbreviation is God.

In 2000, Time ranked him among the 100 most influential people of the century. Godel's Incompleteness Theorem is considered the number one mathematical discovery in the 20th century, comparable to Einstein's Theory of Relativity and Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle.

Godel's youth and imperfect theorem
Godel was born on April 28, 1906 in the city of Brno (now in Czech). His father was a manager of a large textile mill.

As a child, his parents called him Mr. Why because he always asked questions. Godel displayed talent early on when he achieved excellent results in all subjects, especially Mathematics, Linguistics and Theology.

At the age of 18, he mastered Math at the university level. Although pursuing theoretical physics at the University of Vienna (Austria), he still came to listen to lectures on mathematics and philosophy. Later, he was attracted to Math logic.

According to Godel, Mathematical logic is "a science that precedes all other sciences, containing the fundamental ideas and principles of all sciences".

In 1930, he received a PhD in Mathematics. The content of his doctoral thesis is called Godel's Theorem for completeness. But that was just the beginning.

A year later, Godel announced his work containing the most important and famous theorems of his life, "On the formally deterministic propositions in the work of Mathematical Principles and related systems. ”.

Accordingly, he logically proved that for any axiomatic system strong enough to describe the arithmetic of natural numbers, the following conclusions are always true: 1 / The system cannot be consistent, just full. 2 / The consistency of the axiomatic system cannot be proved within that system.

That is the basic content of the Incompleteness Theorem. Imperfectity is evident in the existence of propositions that cannot be determined, proved or denied. In other words, in Mathematics exist unknown facts.

Godel's work dealt a great blow to scientific idealism. It created an unprecedented revolution in mathematical awareness. The theorem shows that Mathematics is as imperfect as any other cognitive system instead of an absolutely certain logical system that most humans mistakenly believe.

In a nutshell, Godel's Incompleteness theorem says no logical system is perfect to allow us to explain all the facts. Godel himself said, "Explaining everything is impossible."

Commenting on this work during the honorary awarding of a doctorate to Godel, Princeton University declared: "His revolutionary work shook the foundations of our understanding of human thinking. ".

Meanwhile, Professor Jonathan David Farley of Stanford University said: "The 20th century science was shocked by the three tsunamis: 1 / Einstein's E = mc2 explained the atomic bomb theory and the face reason 2 / The discoveries of Francis Crick, James Watson, and Rosalind Franklin show that all life comes from a double helix; 3 / The discovery of a young Austrian mathematician shows that we are never Now we know for sure that one is not zero. That mathematician is Kurt Godel.

In the autumn of 1938, Godel married Adele, a 6-year-old girlfriend who had a husband's life.

Godel and Einstein
After announcing the Incompleteness theorem at age 25, Mr. Why put your name on the list of "Immortal Stars" in Mathematics. That success made Princeton University (New Jersey, USA) an eye and invited him to work.

There, Godel became acquainted with Einstein and the two soon became close. It was also one of the reasons Godel decided to settle down and obtain US citizenship in 1947.


Einstein and Godel became lifelong friends, often talking together. (Photo: Getty).

According to The New Yorker, people around the region often saw Einstein walking alongside Godel. Every morning, they go to the office together, talk to each other in German. In the afternoon, the two of them walked home together again.

In terms of personality and hobbies, they are like two opposing sides. While Einstein was older, outward, positive, cheerful, sociable and always smiling, the young Godel seemed introverted, alone and quiet.

However, Einstein did not seem to find anyone who understood him better than Godel. He even told people that he came to his office at Princeton University "just for the privilege of walking home with Godel".

In addition, another reason may be because Godel is not afraid of Einstein's charisma. Freeman Dyson, a member of Einstein and Godel's research institute, said: "Godel is the only one of his colleagues who walks here and talks on par with Einstein."

After the Incompleteness Theorem, Godel also achieved many other outstanding successes, especially during his time at Princeton University.

In his later years, Godel's health was not good. After bleeding due to duodenal ulcer, he had to follow a very strict diet causing severe weight loss. Mrs. Adele, Godel's wife, always follows him to take care of him.

When Godel had paranoia, always suspected that someone was planning to poison him, he refused to eat anything except the dishes prepared by his wife.

However, at the end of 1977, Adele became seriously ill, was hospitalized for 6 months, and was unable to prepare food for her husband. Finally, Godel starved to death at Princeton Hospital on January 14, 1978 and was buried at Princeton Cemetery, aged 71. When he died, he weighed only 29kg.

Liên hệ