Memoir

Kurt Godel

April 28, 1906 - January 14, 1978


Election Year: 1955
Membership Type: Member

Kurt Godel was noted for his contributions to the foundations of logic and mathematics. In a celebrated paper published in 1931, Godel first put forward what came to be known simply as "Godel's Theorem": In certain formal systems, there exist propositions that cannot be proved or disproved using the axioms of that system. With this theorem, Godel had effectively demonstrated that some mathematical propositions are undecidable.

Godel's Theorem made a deep impact in the fields of mathematics and logic, and it has been called the most significant mathematical truth of the 20th century. Godel was born in Brunn (now Brno), in what is now the Czech Republic. He studied physics in Vienna, and emigrated to the United States in 1939, where he took a position at Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study. In addition to other honors, in 1975 he was awarded the National Medal of Science, the U.S. government's highest scientific honor.

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