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John Von Neumann

Von Neumann, John (noiˈmän) [key], 1903–57, American mathematician, b. Hungary, Ph.D. Univ. of Budapest, 1926. He came to the United States in 1930 and was naturalized in 1937. He taught (1930–33) at Princeton and after 1933 was associated with the Institute for Advanced Study. In 1954 he was appointed a member of the Atomic Energy Commission. A founder of the mathematical theory of games (see games, theory of), he also made fundamental contributions to quantum theory and to the development of the atomic bomb. He was a leader in the design and development of high-speed electronic computers; his development of maniac— an acronym for m athematical a nalyzer, n umerical i ntegrator, a nd c omputer—enabled the United States to produce and test (1952) the world's first hydrogen bomb. With Oskar Morgernstern he wrote Theory of Games and Economic Behavior (1944, rev. ed. 1953). Von Neumann's other writings include Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics (1926, tr. 1955), Computer and the Brain (1958), and Theory of Self-reproducing Automata (ed. by A. W. Burks, pub. posthumously, 1966).

See his collected works (Vol. I–III, 1961–62; Vol. IV–VI, 1963); biography by N. Macrae (1992).

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

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