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Journey to the Edge of Reason

The Life of Kurt Gödel

«Mesmerizing.... As this vibrant biography so beautifully elucidates, the truth of a life can’t ever be proven; it can only be shown.»

Jennifer Szalai - New York Times Book Review

Nearly a hundred years after its publication, Kurt Goedel's famous proof that every mathematical system must contain propositions that are true-yet never provable-continues to unsettle mathematics, philosophy, and computer science. Les mer

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Nearly a hundred years after its publication, Kurt Goedel's famous proof that every mathematical system must contain propositions that are true-yet never provable-continues to unsettle mathematics, philosophy, and computer science. Yet unlike Einstein, with whom he formed a warm and abiding friendship, Goedel has long escaped all but the most casual scrutiny of his life.

Stephen Budiansky's Journey to the Edge of Reason is the first biography to fully draw upon Goedel's voluminous letters and writings-including a never-before-transcribed shorthand diary of his most intimate thoughts-to explore Goedel's profound intellectual friendships, his moving relationship with his mother, his troubled yet devoted marriage, and the debilitating bouts of paranoia that ultimately took his life. It also offers an intimate portrait of the scientific and intellectual circles in prewar Vienna, a haunting account of Goedel's and Jewish intellectuals' flight from Austria and Germany at the start of the Second World War, and a vivid re-creation of the early days of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ, where Goedel and Einstein both worked.

Eloquent and insightful, Journey to the Edge of Reason is a fully realized portrait of the odd, brilliant, and tormented man who has been called the greatest logician since Aristotle, and illuminates the far-reaching implications of Goedel's revolutionary ideas for philosophy, mathematics, artificial intelligence, and man's place in the cosmos.

Detaljer

Forlag
WW Norton & Co
Innbinding
Innbundet
Språk
Engelsk
ISBN
9781324005445
Utgivelsesår
2021
Format
24 x 16 cm

Om forfatteren

Stephen Budiansky is a historian, biographer, and the author of Oliver Wendell Holmes: A Life in War, Law, and Ideas and Journey to the Edge of Reason: The Life of Kurt Gödel. A recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship, he lives in Loudoun County, Virginia.

Anmeldelser

«Mesmerizing.... As this vibrant biography so beautifully elucidates, the truth of a life can’t ever be proven; it can only be shown.»

Jennifer Szalai - New York Times Book Review

«[Budiansky] writes vividly, and the book overflows with fascinating detail.... Enthralling.»

David Edmonds - Wall Street Journal

«Wonderfully engrossing.»

Adam Gopnik - The New Yorker

«Journey to the Edge of Reason is an intimate and haunting portrait of one of the most elusive gods on Princeton’s Mt. Olympus. A triumph of research and a wonderful read.»

Sylvia Nasar, author of A Beautiful Mind

«Remarkable.... A singular virtue of this well-researched and well-written book is that Budiansky takes his subject’s life as seriously as his mathematical work.... Readers shouldn’t be discouraged by the complexity of Go¨del’s mathematics; this is the first major biography of the brilliant yet tragic figure and, in all respects, a first-rate one.»

Library Journal, starred review

«Kurt Gödel’s mathematical results on incompleteness and undecidable propositions leave it up to us, as individuals, to choose whether to mourn these limits to the power of formal systems, or celebrate his proof that even the most rigid numerical bureaucracy contains the tools by which higher truth will always be able to effect an escape. Stephen Budiansky’s Journey to the Edge of Reason expertly and humanely frames these results between Gödel’s childhood under the dark shadow of the Austrian and Nazi bureaucracies, his escape to America, his descent into physical and mental illness, and his achievement of a reconciliation between spiritual faith and scientific proof.»

George Dyson, author of Analogia and Turing’s Cathedral

«Expansive ... places [Gödel’s] achievements in their social and political context.»

The New Yorker

«Budiansky exposes the social and political influences that shaped the life of this brilliant Austrian mathematician.... But Budiansky’s greater accomplishment is that of penetrating a mind that reoriented the entire mathematical world.... A portrait remarkable for both its intellectual depth and for its compassion.»

Booklist, starred review

«A painstakingly researched and lucidly presented biography—a close-up of one of the most influential and enigmatic thinkers of the twentieth century—full of vivid detail and sharp historical insight.»

Karl Sigmund, professor of mathematics, University of Vienna, and author of Exact Thinking in Dement

«A brilliant biography of one of the most original thinkers of all time, Journey to the Edge of Reason is as deep and precise as the genius it describes. In a paradox befitting Gödel himself, it takes a tale of logic and its limits and finds, at its heart, something strangely soulful and sympathetic.»

Steven Strogatz, professor of mathematics, Cornell University, and author of Infinite Powers

«Terrific.... An outstanding biography of a man of incomprehensible brilliance.»

Kirkus, starred review

«Gödel comes through as a brilliant though tragic figure in Budiansky’s richly descriptive prose. This captivating portrait of a great if neurotic mind hits the mark.»

Publishers Weekly, starred review

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