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The Universal Computer, 3rd Edition by Martin Davis

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CHAPTER 5

Hilbert to the Rescue

In 1737, George II of England, son of Leibniz’s last patron George I, founded a university in the medieval town of Göttingen located on the Leine River in central Germany. The city walls, several Gothic churches, and half-timbered houses on old streets survive to this day in this charming university town. Göttingen University has a proud tradition of mathematical excellence dating back to the nineteenth century, having been home to such mathematical greats as Carl Friedrich Gauss, Bernhard Riemann, Lejeune Dirichlet, and Felix Klein. But the true glory days for mathematics in Göttingen came in the twentieth century when, drawn mainly by David Hilbert’s reputation, students from everywhere came to what remained ...

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