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Kurt Gödel

Gödel, Kurt (göˈdəl) [key], 1906–78, American mathematician and logician, b. Brünn (now Brno, Czech Republic), grad. Univ. of Vienna (Ph.D., 1930). He came to the United States in 1940 and was naturalized in 1948. He was a member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, until 1953, when he became professor of mathematics at Princeton. He is best known for his work in mathematical logic, particularly for his theorem (1931) stating that the various branches of mathematics are based in part on propositions that are not provable within the system itself, although they may be proved by means of logical (metamathematical) systems external to mathematics. Gödel shared the 1951 Albert Einstein Award for achievement in the natural sciences with Julian Schwinger, Harvard mathematical physicist. His writings include Foundations of Mathematics (1969).

See H. Wang, Reflections on Kurt Gödel (1987); E. Nagel et al., Gödel's Proof (rev. ed. 2001); R. Goldstein, The Proof and Paradox of Kurt Gödel (2005); P. Yourgrau, A World without Time: The Forgotten Legacy of Gödel and Einstein (2005).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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