Sunday, September 8, 2013

"Genius Recognizing Genius"

83 Years ago yesterday...:
"…the steps leading up to Gödel's startling conclusions are both logically tricky and intricately intertwined…
"An indicator of the degree to which Gödel's results were unexpected can be found in the reaction to his original announcement of the theorem at a philosophy-of-science symposium in Königsberg, Germany, on September 7, 1930. Ironically, Königsberg happened to be Hilbert's hometown, which perhaps partially accounts for the lukewarm reception given to Gödel's presentation of his results. In fact, the transcript of the discussions at the meeting gives no indication whatsoever of Gödel's remarks, and there is no mention of Gödel at all in an article published later summarizing the papers given at the meeting! So like many belief-shattering ideas, Gödel's appears to have been so unexpected and revolutionary that even the professionals didn't at first understand what he had accomplished.  But one participant who did see immediately the implications of the work was John von Neumann, who cornered Gödel after his talk and pressed him for more details -- a case of genius recognizing genius, I suppose."
          -- from John L. Casti's "Searching For Certainty"

and the rest, as they say, is math-logic-philosophy history....

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