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John Von Neumann

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The first full-scale biography of the scientific genius who pioneered the modern computer, game theory, and nuclear deterrence. This definitive ... Show synopsis

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Reviews of John Von Neumann

Overall customer rating: 4.000

Second to Einstein?

by DowninginReading on Apr 24, 2008

John von Neumann's fingerprints are all over the history of the twientieth centrury. Sure, he made major contributions to the making of the atomic bomb (and his up close observations post explosion may well have led to his early death), but that was amost a minor side trip for him. von Neumann made significant inroads in economic theory, game theory, computer architecture, logic, nuclear physics and the mathematical understanding of hydrodynamic turbulance. That is the short list. Oh, he formulatd and sold much of the political basis of mutual deterance which formed our...that is, the world's...cold war politics and strategy. Born in Hungry, he belonged to the cadre of mathematicians, artists, scientists, physicists and musicians who formed a vast talent pool foolishly squandered by a Europe under Hitler's domination. After demonstrating his brilliance in a number of fields, he "settled" in at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, which he used for a base to criss cross the country by train. He could think on trains for long, concentrated periods, all the more interesting since he was known as one of the fastest mental calculators going. I first became specificaly aware of von Neumann while reading Richard Rhodes' "The Making of the Atomic Bomb", which is heavily drawn upon in the present book. Since then von Neumann seems to crop up everywhere I turn, so i had to read his biography, an exercise I think well worth while. Albert Eistein is generally considered the leading intellect of the the past centruy, and empirical evidence keeps bearing him out. But if one of these days we find out Old Al slipped up in some major way, von Neumann is surely a candidate for the position.

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