Mathematician:John von Neumann

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Hungarian-American mathematician who made major contributions to a vast range of fields, including set theory, functional analysis, quantum mechanics, ergodic theory, continuous geometry, economics, computer science, numerical analysis and statistics, to name but a few.

Founded the field of game theory in collaboration with Oskar Morgenstern.

Generally regarded as one of the foremost mathematicians in modern history.




  • Born: 28 Dec 1903 in Budapest, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now Hungary)
  • Died: 8 Feb 1957 in Washington D.C., USA

Theorems and Definitions

Results named for John von Neumann can be found here.

Definitions of concepts named for John von Neumann can be found here.

Axioms named for John von Neumann can be found here.


Notable Quotes

As a mathematical discipline travels far from its empirical source, or still more, if it is a second or third generation only indirectly inspired by ideas coming from "reality," it is beset with very grave dangers. It becomes more and more purely aestheticising, more and more purely l'art pour l'art. This need not be bad, if the field is surrounded by correlated subjects, which still have closer empirical connections, or if the discipline is under the influence of men with an exceptionally well-developed taste. But there is a grave danger that the subject will develop along the line of least resistance, that the stream, so far from its source, will separate into a multitude of insignificant branches, and that the discipline will become a disorganised mass of details and complexities. In other words, at a great distance from its empirical source, or after much "abstract" inbreeding, a mathematical subject is in danger of degeneration.
Quoted in 1972: George F. Simmons: Differential Equations.

In mathematics you don't understand things. You just get used to them.
Epigraph to 2008: David Joyner: Adventures in Group Theory (2nd ed.).

Also known as

Born Neumann János Lajos.

Some sources include an anglicised rendition of his middle name: John Louis von Neumann.

He can also be seen as Johann von Neumann.

Some sources capitalise the von, thus: John Von Neumann