Appendix E: Biographies
E.1 John von Neumann
John von Neumann was born to an aristocratic family on December 28, 1903, in Budapest, Austria-Hungary, and died February 8, 1957, in Washington, DC, of brain cancer. von Neumann earned two doctorates at the same time, a PhD in mathematics from the University of Budapest and a PhD in chemistry from the University of Zurich. He joined the faculty of the prestigious University of Berlin in 1927. von Neumann made fundamental contributions to quantum physics, functional analysis, economics, computer science, numerical analysis, and many other fields. There was hardly any subject that came to his attention that he didn’t revolutionize. Some areas, especially in mathematics, he invented. At age 19, he applied abstract operator theory, much of which he developed, to the brand new field of quantum mechanics. He was an integral member of the Manhattan Project and made fundamental contributions to the development of the hydrogen bomb and the development of the Mutual Assured Destruction policy of the United States. In 1932, he was appointed one of the original and youngest permanent members of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, New Jersey (along with A. Einstein), and helped to make it the most prestigious research institute in the world.
The von Neumann minimax theorem was proved in 1928 and was a major milestone in the theory of games. von Neumann continued to think about games and wrote the classic Theory of Games and Economic ...