The first full-scale biography of the scientific genius who pioneered the modern computer, game theory, and nuclear deterrence. This definitive ...Show synopsisThe first full-scale biography of the scientific genius who pioneered the modern computer, game theory, and nuclear deterrence. This definitive biography gives us a behind-the-scenes look at the politics and personalities involved in these world-changing discoveries. 16-page photo insert.Hide synopsis
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Description:Very Good in Very Good jacket. 8vo. pp. x  405."A biography...Very Good in Very Good jacket. 8vo. pp. x  405."A biography of the man regarded as the greatest scientist since Einstein moves from the laboratory to the highest levels of government, showing how von Neumann's theories provided the building blocks for the modern computer, the atom bomb, radar, artificial intelligence, and more."
Description:New York. 1992. Pantheon Books. 1st American Edition. Very Good...New York. 1992. Pantheon Books. 1st American Edition. Very Good In Dustjacket. 352 pages. hardcover. 0679413081. keywords: Biography Science History. inventory # 17391. FROM THE PUBLISHER-The first full-scale biography of the man widely regarded as the greatest scientist of the century after Einstein. Born in Budapest in 1903, John von Neumann grew up in one of the most extraordinary of scientific communities. From his arrival in America in the mid-1930s-with bases in Boston, Princeton, Washington, and Los Alamos-von Neumann pioneered and participated in the major scientific and political dramas of the next three decades, leaving his mark on more fields of scientific endeavor than any other scientist. Von Neumann's work in areas such as game theory, mathematics, physics, and meteorology formed the building blocks for the most important discoveries of the century: the modern computer, game theory, the atom bomb, radar, and artificial intelligence, to name just a few. From the laboratory to the highest levels of government, this definitive biography gives us a behind-the-scenes look at the politics and personalities involved in these world-changing discoveries. Written more than thirty years after von Neumann's untimely death at age fifty-six, it was prepared with the cooperation of his family, and includes information gained from interviewing countless sources across Europe and America. Norman Macrae paints a highly readable, humanizing portrait of a man whose legacy still influences and shapes modern science and knowledge.
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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