Kurt Gödel

Mathematician, Academic

1906 – 1978

94

Who was Kurt Gödel?

Kurt Friedrich Gödel was an Austrian, and later American, logician, mathematician, and philosopher. Considered with Aristotle and Gottlob Frege to be one of the most significant logicians in history, Gödel made an immense impact upon scientific and philosophical thinking in the 20th century, a time when others such as Bertrand Russell, A. N. Whitehead, and David Hilbert were pioneering the use of logic and set theory to understand the foundations of mathematics.

Gödel published his two incompleteness theorems in 1931 when he was 25 years old, one year after finishing his doctorate at the University of Vienna. The first incompleteness theorem states that for any self-consistent recursive axiomatic system powerful enough to describe the arithmetic of the natural numbers, there are true propositions about the naturals that cannot be proved from the axioms. To prove this theorem, Gödel developed a technique now known as Gödel numbering, which codes formal expressions as natural numbers.

He also showed that neither the axiom of choice nor the continuum hypothesis can be disproved from the accepted axioms of set theory, assuming these axioms are consistent. The former result opened the door for mathematicians to assume the axiom of choice in their proofs. He also made important contributions to proof theory by clarifying the connections between classical logic, intuitionistic logic, and modal logic.

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Born
Apr 28, 1906
Brno
Also known as
  • Kurt Godel
Parents
Spouses
Religion
  • Theism
Nationality
  • United States of America
  • Austria
Profession
Education
  • Doctorate, University of Vienna
    Mathematics
Employment
  • Institute for Advanced Study
Lived in
  • Brno
Died
Jan 14, 1978
Princeton

Submitted
on July 23, 2013

Citation

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"Kurt Gödel." Biographies.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 29 Jun 2022. <https://www.biographies.net/people/en/kurt_godel>.

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