Godel, Kurt

Portrait
Born: Apr 28, 1906 AD
Died: 1978 AD, at 71 years of age.

Nationality: Austrian
Categories: Mathematicians, Philosopher


1906 – He was born on the 28th day of April this year in Moravia, Austria-Hungary (now the Czech Republic) into the ethnic German family of Rudolf Gödel, the manager of a textile factory, and Marianne Gödel. At the time of his birth the town had a slight German-speaking majority and this was the language of his parents.

 

1918 - He automatically became a Czechoslovak citizen at age 12 when the Austro-Hungarian Empire broke up at the end of World War I. In his family, young Kurt was known as Der Herr Warum ("Mr. Why") because of his insatiable curiosity.

 

1920 - His interest in mathematics increased when his older brother Rudolf left for Vienna to go to medical school at the University of Vienna.

 

1923 - He attended German language primary and secondary school in Brno and completed them with honors in this year. Although Kurt had first excelled in languages, he later became more interested in history and mathematics.

 

1924 - At the age of 18, Kurt joined his brother Rudolf in Vienna and entered the UV. By that time he had already mastered university-level mathematics. Although initially intending to study theoretical physics, Kurt also attended courses on mathematics and philosophy.

 

1929 - At the age of 23, he completed his doctoral dissertation under Hans Hahn's supervision. In it, Gödel established the completeness of the first-order predicate calculus.

 

1930 – He was awarded the doctorate in this year. His thesis, along with some additional work, was published by the Vienna Academy of Science.

 

1931 - He published his famous incompleteness theorems in "Über formal unentscheidbare Sätze der Principia Mathematica und verwandter Systeme." In that article, he proved that for any computable axiomatic system that is powerful enough to describe the arithmetic of the natural numbers.

 

1932 - Gödel earned his habilitation at the UV in this year and in 1933 he became a Privatdozent (unpaid lecturer) there.

 

1933 – He first traveled to the USA, where he met Albert Einstein who became a good friend. He delivered an address to the annual meeting of the American Mathematical Society.

 

1934 – He gave a series of lectures at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) in Princeton, New Jersey, entitled On undecidable propositions of formal mathematical systems. Stephen Kleene, who had just completed his Ph.D. at Princeton, took notes of these lectures which have been subsequently published.

1935 - Gödel would visit the IAS again in the autumn of this year. The traveling and the hard work had exhausted him and the next year he had to recover from a depression. He returned to teaching in 1937.

 

1938 - He married Adele Nimbursky (née Porkert), whom he had known for over 10 years, on September 20 of this year. Also after the Anschluss in this year, Austria had become a part of Nazi Germany. Germany abolished the title of Privatdozent, so Gödel had to apply for a different position under the new order.

 

1940 - He suffered from a bleeding ulcer, but his distrust of doctors led him to delay treatment; he risked death and was saved only by emergency blood transfusion.

 

1946 - Gödel became a permanent member of the IAS in this year.

 

1953 - He became a full professor at the Institute in this year.

 

1976 – He became an emeritus professor in this year.

 

1978 – He died of malnutrition and inanition on the 14th day of January this year in Princeton, New Jersey.


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