**John Von Neumann** built a solid framework for quantum mechanics. He also worked in game theory, studied what are now called *von Neumann Algebras*, and was one of the pioneers of computer science.

- Max Neumann was eligible to apply for a hereditary title because of his contribution to the then successful Hungarian economy and in 1913 he paid a fee to acquire a title, but he did not change his name.
- His son, however, used the German form von Neumann where the "von" indicated the title.
- Young Johnny read the column over a few times, then handed the book back to the guest.
- In 1911 von Neumann entered the Lutheran Gymnasium.
- The school had a strong academic tradition which seemed to count for more than the religious affiliation both in the Neumann's eyes and in those of the school.
- His mathematics teacher quickly recognised von Neumann's genius and special tuition was put on for him.
- The school had another outstanding mathematician one year ahead of von Neumann, namely Eugene Wigner.
- Such situations are devoid of logic and the fact that the Neumann's were opposed to Kun's government did not save them from persecution.
- In 1921 von Neumann completed his education at the Lutheran Gymnasium.
- Perhaps von Kármán was the wrong person to ask to undertake such a task but in the end all agreed on the compromise subject of chemistry for von Neumann's university studies.
- Of course, even with a strict quota, von Neumann's record easily won him a place to study mathematics in 1921 but he did not attend lectures.
- Von Neumann studied chemistry at the University of Berlin until 1923 when he went to Zürich.
- Von Neumann received his diploma in chemical engineering from the Technische Hochschule in Zürich in 1926.
- Von Neumann received his doctorate in mathematics from the University of Budapest, also in 1926, with a thesis on set theory.
- Von Neumann lectured at Berlin from 1926 to 1929 and at Hamburg from 1929 to 1930.
- Veblen invited von Neumann to Princeton to lecture on quantum theory in 1929.
- In 1930 von Neumann became a visiting lecturer at Princeton University, being appointed professor there in 1931.
- He became one of the original six mathematics professors (J W Alexander, A Einstein, M Morse, O Veblen, J von Neumann and H Weyl) in 1933 at the newly founded Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, a position he kept for the remainder of his life.
- During the first years that he was in the United States, von Neumann continued to return to Europe during the summers.
- In 1933 von Neumann became co-editor of the Annals of Mathematics and, two years later, he became co-editor of Compositio Mathematica.
- There von Neumann lived a rather unusual lifestyle for a top mathematician.
- While teaching in Germany, von Neumann had been a denizen of the Cabaret-era Berlin nightlife circuit.
- Self-adjoint algebras of bounded linear operators on a Hilbert space, closed in the weak operator topology, were introduced in 1929 by von Neumann in a paper in Mathematische Annalen .
- J Dixmier, in 1957, called them "von Neumann algebras" in his monograph Algebras of operators in Hilbert space (von Neumann algebras).
- In the second half of the 1930's and the early 1940s von Neumann, working with his collaborator F J Murray, laid the foundations for the study of von Neumann algebras in a fundamental series of papers.
- However von Neumann is known for the wide variety of different scientific studies.
- In game theory von Neumann proved the minimax theorem.
- In 1938 the American Mathematical Society awarded the Bôcher Prize to John von Neumann for his memoir Almost periodic functions and groups.
- Von Neumann was one of the pioneers of computer science making significant contributions to the development of logical design.
- Involving a mixture of pure and applied mathematics as well as other sciences, automata theory was an ideal field for von Neumann's wide-ranging intellect.
- Johnny von Neumann, who knew how to live so fully, did not know how to die.
- It would be almost impossible to give even an idea of the range of honours which were given to von Neumann.
- Von Neumann received two Presidential Awards, the Medal for Merit in 1947 and the Medal for Freedom in 1956.

Born 28 December 1903, Budapest, Hungary. Died 8 February 1957, Washington D.C., USA.

View full biography at MacTutor

Analysis, Origin Hungary, Physics, Puzzles And Problems, Set Theory, Statistics

**O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F**: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive