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By your super awesome classmate, and future noble prize winner/ first person to walk on Mars. -Christopher Dysart Born in Budapest, Austro-Hungarian Empire Eldest of three boys, & son of wealthy Jewish parents. Originally named Neumann Jano’s Lagos Child prodigy in the areas of: language, memorization, & mathematics memorized telephone directories on sight Six years old- could exchange jokes in classical Greek, & perform huge mathematical calculations in his head. Eight years old- mastered calculus. His father hired private tutors for him, since he was not allowed to skip grades but needed advanced instruction. Fifteen years old- Brought his calculus instructor, Gabor Szego, to tears of amazement at his genius. Adult Life By nineteen, had published two major mathematical papers. -one of these papers developed the modern definition of ordinal numbers which superceded Cantor’s. Received Ph.D. in mathematics (w/minor in experimental physics & chemistry) from Pazmany Peter University in Budapest at twenty-two years old. 1926-30, taught as a Privatdozent (associate professor) at the University of Berlin (youngest in history By 1929, was writing major papers at the rate of one per month. • 1930- was invited to Princeton University, and was one of the first four people selected for the faculty of the Institute of Advanced Study. -Two of the others were Kurt Gödel and Albert Einstein. • Was a professor here from 1933 until his death • had a daughter, Marina, with his first wife. • -his daughter became a professor at the University of Michigan. • Married his second wife, Klara Dan • They were both very socially active in the Princeton community • They’d throw swanky parties twice a week at their large estate . • John was a notoriously bad driver, yet loved to drive, especially while reading. • This led to many arrests and accidents. Random stuff • John believed his mathematical thought was intuitive, and he said that he’d go to bed with a problem unsolved, and wake up with the answer. • Had a photographic memory. He could read a book or article once and quote it back verbatim, and could do it years later without hesitation. • He enjoyed eating and drinking so much that his wife Klara said “he could count everything except calories”. • Enjoyed “off color” humor, and received complaints for playing extremely loud German marching music on his gramophone in his office, which disturbed his neighbors, which included Albert Einstein. His Death • 1955- diagnosed with bone or pancreatic cancer • “It is plausible that in 1955 the thenfifty-one-year-old Johnny’s cancer sprang from his attendance at the 1946 Bikini nuclear tests.” –Norman Macrae, biographer • Shocked his friends by inviting a Roman Catholic priest to visit him for a consultation. He was a well known agnostic. -mentioned Pascal’s wager • He died under military security so that he could not reveal military secrets while heavily medicated. Father of Game Theory • Founded the field of game theory as a mathematical discipline. • Proved his minimax theorem in 1928 -It establishes that in zero-sum games w/ perfect information (in which players know at each moment all moves that have taken place so far), their exists a pair of strategies for both parties that allow each to minimize his maximum losses. • A player must determine every possible strategy and consider all possible responses of his or her adversary. • The player then plays out the strategy which will result in the minimization of their maximum losses -these strategies, which minimize loss, are called optimal. • Improved and extended the minimax theorem to deal w/games involving imperfect information and games with more than two players • He published his results in the 1944 book “Theory of Games and Economic Behavior” • New York Times ran a front page story on it. Manhattan Project & Military Involvement • Late 1930’s- John von Neumann became interested in applied mathematics, and developed an expertise in explosions. • This led to military consultations, and eventually his involvement in the Manhattan Project. • Main Contribution to the atomic bomb was conceptualizing and designing the explosive lenses needed to compress the plutonium core of the Trinity test device and the “Fat Man” that would be dropped on Nagasaki • Also determined that the effectiveness of an atomic bomb would be enhanced with detonation a few kilometers above the target, instead of ground level. • Spring 1945- he was selected, along with four other scientists and military personal, to a committee responsible for choosing Hiroshima and Nagasaki as the first targets of the atomic bomb. • If left to John alone, Kyoto would have been the first city bombed. • Coined the acronym M.A.D., which stands for mutually assured destruction. • It is the doctrine of military strategy and national security policy in which full-scale use of high-yield weapons of mass destruction by two opposing sides would effectively result in the complete, utter, and irrevocable annihilation of both the attacker and defender, which leads to a war w/ no victor. • He was also a Cold War strategist "A végén" - The end