Godel

Godel

by John L. Casti, Werner DePauli, J. L. Casti
     
 

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Kurt Gödel was an intellectual giant. His Incompleteness Theorem turned not only mathematics but also the whole world of science and philosophy on its head. Shattering hopes that logic would, in the end, allow us a complete understanding of the universe, Gödel's theorem also raised many provocative questions: What are the limits of rational thought?…  See more details below

Overview


Kurt Gödel was an intellectual giant. His Incompleteness Theorem turned not only mathematics but also the whole world of science and philosophy on its head. Shattering hopes that logic would, in the end, allow us a complete understanding of the universe, Gödel's theorem also raised many provocative questions: What are the limits of rational thought? Can we ever fully understand the machines we build? Or the inner workings of our own minds? How should mathematicians proceed in the absence of complete certainty about their results? Equally legendary were Gödel's eccentricities, his close friendship with Albert Einstein, and his paranoid fear of germs that eventually led to his death from self-starvation. Now, in the first book for a general audience on this strange and brilliant thinker, John Casti and Werner DePauli bring the legend to life.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
These authors, both respected academics, hope that "by the time the reader gets to the end of this book, he or she will know why" Kurt G del (1906-78) is one of the greatest mathematicians of the 20th century. Unfortunately, that is highly unlikely. The complexity of the work for which G del is best known--the "G del Theorem" (baldly, that deductions from first principles can never be complete)--is such that it cannot be made comprehensible in a popular treatment such as this. This is not to say that there is not much of interest here--there is. There are nice discussions of important contemporary issues, such as computer science, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, and more, but none of it makes G del's work any more intelligible. What the reader will find here, however--and on this basis alone the book deserves a place in most libraries--is details of the strange life of a mathematical genius who died from self-starvation owing to paranoia that someone was trying to poison his food.--Leon H. Brody, U.S. Office of Personnel Management Lib., Washington, DC Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
Popular science writer Casti (Sante Fe Institute and Technical U. of Vienna) and DePauli (statistics and computer science, U. of Vienna) present the first biography of mathematician Kurt G<:o>del (1906-78) for lay readers. They look at his life from childhood in Monrovia to self-starvation in Princeton, and explore the work he is known for. The short bibliography is annotated. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780738205182
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
09/01/2001
Pages:
220
Product dimensions:
0.50(w) x 5.00(h) x 8.00(d)

Meet the Author


John L. Casti, a member of the faculty of both the Santa Fe Institute and the Technical Unviersity of Vienna, has written numerous acclaimed popular scinece books, including Would-be Worlds, Five Golden Rules, and The Cambridge Quintet. Werner DePauli is University Assistant and Oberrat at the Institute of Statistics and Computer Science of the University of Vienna. He is the author of several books in German about Godel.

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