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John Von Neumann
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Mathematician
    (December 28, 1903-February 8, 1957)
    Born in Budapest, Hungary
    Birth name was Neumann Janos Lajos
    Contributed to set theory, functional analysis, statistics, quantum mechanics, economics, game theory and computer science
    Professor of Mathematics at the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton (1933-57)
    Member of the Manhattan Project to develop the atomic bomb
    Consultant on the pioneering EDVAC computer project (1946)
    Became a US citizen (1937)
    Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1956)
    He was a child prodigy.
    He changed his name from the Hungarian 'Janos' to the German 'Johannes' to the Anglo 'John.'
    He wore the same gray flannel business suit everywhere, even while playing tennis.
    He was a horrible driver, describing one accident with 'I was proceeding down the road. The trees on the right were passing me in orderly fashion at 60 miles per hour. Suddenly one of them stepped in my path.'
    He advocated a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the Soviet Union.
    Mathematician Peter Lax called him 'the most scintillating intellect' of the 20th century.
    He was one of the original appointees at the Institute for Advanced Studies, along with Albert Einstein and Kurt Godel.
    He was fond of Yiddish humor and off-color limericks.
    While he was dying, his hopsital room was placed under military security out of fears that he might reveal classified secrets while under medication.
    He declared, 'Truth is much too complicated to allow anything but approximations.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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