Norman Macrae (Pdf or epub) John Von Neumann The Scientific Genius Who Pioneered the Modern Computer Game Theory Nuclear Deterrence and Much More

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John Von Neumann The Scientific Genius Who Pioneered the Modern Computer Game Theory Nuclear Deterrence and Much More

’s papers The resulting book is a highly entertaining account that is difficult to put down” Journal of Mathematical Psychology “A full and intimate biography of ‘the man who consciously and deliberately set mankind moving along the road that led us into the Age of Computers’” Freeman Dyson Princeton NJ “It is good to have a biography of one of the most important mathematicians of the twentieth century even if it is a biography that focuses much on the man than on the mathematics” Fernando Gouvêa Mathematical Association of America “Macrae has written a valuable biography of this remarkable genius of our century without the opacity of technical mathematical dimensions that are part of the hero’s intellectual contributions to humanity Interesting informative illuminating and insightful” Choice Review “Macrae paints a highly readable humanizing portrait of a man whose legacy still influences and shapes modern science and knowledge” Resonance Journal of Science Education “In this affectionate humanizing biography former Economist editor Macrae limns a prescient pragmatist who actively fought against fasci. This is an academic biography So the prose is a bit plodding and stiff and the seuence of life events reads like a timeline rather than a life lived However the personality mind and accomplishments of JvN are so magnificent that the pages keep turning Until a few years ago thee was no really good biography of Enrico Fermi now there are two very good ones Took some 60 years to consider Fermi properly It may take another 60 years before JvN gets a first rate biography In the meantime this is clearly the best One might also discover profile info written by Stan Ulam and JvN s daughter wrote lovingly and with clarity about her father By every account JvN was a Martian defined as somebody whose mental abilities seem unworldly He was a bon vivant who dressed like a banker not an academic He brought originality and depth to every subject he touched From bomb design to the structure of computing machines to poker strategy He could move seamlessly from abstract reasoning to applied problems Genius is too facile a description One might wish for insight into his personal life but the hints are there and this is surely the best book available to motivate an interest in this great scientist and his work

REVIEW John Von Neumann The Scientific Genius Who Pioneered the Modern Computer Game Theory Nuclear Deterrence and Much More

N accomplished intellectually without expecting the reader to have a PhD in mathematics Beyond that he captures von Neumann’s ualities of temperament mind and personality including his effortless wit and humor And Macrae frames and accounts for von Neumann’s politics in ways that even critics of them among whom I include myself will find provocative and illuminating” Daniel J Kevles California Institute of Technology “The first full scale biography of this polymath who was born Jewish in Hungary in 1903 and died Roman Catholic in the United States at the age of 53 And Mr Macrae has some great stories to tell Mr Macrae’s biography has rescued a lot of good science gossip from probable extinction and has introduced many of us to the life story of a man we ought to know better” Ed Regis The New York Times “A nice and fascinating picture of a genius who was active in so many domains” Zentralblatt MATH “Biographer Macrae takes a ‘viewspaperman’ approach which stresses the context and personalities associated with von Neumann’s remarkable life rather than attempting to give a detailed scholarly analysis of von Neumann. An interesting portrait of one of the geniuses of the 20th century important contributor to Allied success in WWII and to the emerging computer age The author portrays Von Neumann s whirlwind of brilliance affecting all with whom he came into contact in a myriad of fields I was struck as well by the characterization of the culture of early 20th century Budapest and its continuing influence on Von Neumann s work I followed this book with a biography of Von Neumann collaborator competitor fellow prodigy and mathematician extraordinaire Norbert Wiener Conway and Siegelman Dark Hero of the Information Age and found this coupling particularly interesting in the contrasting personalities and styles of these two seminal thinkers and creators

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John von Neumann was a Jewish refugee from Hungary considered a “genius” like fellow Hungarians Leo Szilard Eugene Wigner and Edward Teller who played key roles developing the A bomb at Los Alamos during World War II As a mathematician at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study where Einstein was also a professor von Neumann was a leader in the development of early computers Later he developed the new field of game theory in economics and became a top nuclear arms policy adviser to the Truman and Eisenhower administrations “I always thought von Neumann’s brain indicated that he belonged to a new species an evolution beyond man Macrae shows us in a lively way how this brain was nurtured and then left its great imprint on the world” Hans A Bethe Cornell University “The book makes for utterly captivating reading Von Neumann was of course one of this century’s geniuses and it is surprising that we have had to wait so long for a fully fleshed and sympathetic biography of the man It’s no small task to render a genius like von Neumann in ordinary language yet Macrae manages the trick providing than a glimpse of what von Neuman. 2008 05 31 Ughthe reviews of this one were rough but I tried to ignore them First off the book has a weird appearance Let s not count that against it but the odd shape yielded a much longer read than the 400 pages suggest Further I d have liked to have seen good ol comforting Computer Modern or CM Super used in the typesetting of the American Mathematical Society the irritatingly unlisted typeface was rather tiring on the glazzies But I digressMacrae s editor noticably dropped the ball here to a point that s distracting An odd dozen uotes are duplicated sometimes several times throughout each time with the clear intent to unveil something new Macrae offers the bewildering conjecture that Fermi might have advanced an Italian bomb effortwhat a change that would have been The Duce s industrial base in 1939 had a technological ceiling at about the marble tableepaulette level I m not often moved to an audible moron while reading but there you go some ten pages later Macrae points out that the British lacked the physical plant for isotope separation is the man really that blissfully unaware of relative European industrial power following the Industrial Revolution Jesus On page 62 nine tenths is used which context on page 63 makes plain to have intended one tenth c mon this is a fucking American Mathematical publication about a mathematician written by a mathematician get your fractions correctThere s a very uneven nature to the chapters the first three are florid and lively the 11th regarding economic contributions fairly excellent the remainder largely staid We learn on the final pages that these initial chapters were handed down largely unchanged from Stephen White the project s initiator and that Macrae s professional focus included economics Argh This seems clearly an example of a noble project placed in the wrong hands Macrae s Nippophilic ejaculations become uninteresting diversion after the first few dozen instances turning eventually bewildering and finally pathetic Johnny was among the greatest minds of the last century and deserved betterMacrae makes it clear in his Foreward that this is a labor of love actually a commissioned hagiography by the Sloan Foundation we learn later Von Neumann s was a hard life to capture in still Oppenheimer biographies advance unceasingly even after Kay and Bird settled that mysterious old wizard and a stone can t be thrown at Barnes and Noble without hitting some tiring hundredth investigation of Einstein yet this is only the third minor biography of Von Neumann He s a difficult target for the biographer especially the modern one But he s my favorite and the few new anecdotes I could wring out of this stillborn effort spare it the Ninth Circle of single starhood


10 thoughts on “John Von Neumann The Scientific Genius Who Pioneered the Modern Computer Game Theory Nuclear Deterrence and Much More

  1. says:

    2008 05 31 Ughthe reviews of this one were rough but I tried to ignore them First off the book has a weird appearance Let's not count that against it but the odd shape yielded a much longer read than the 400 pages suggest Further I'd have liked to have seen good ol' comforting Computer Modern or CM Super used in the typesetting of the Americ

  2. says:

    John von Neumann is a subject deserving a great biography one of the most important minds of the 20th century This isn't that biogr

  3. says:

    John von Neumann was one of the preeminent scientists and thinkers of the second uarter of the twentieth century This is nearly the only full length biography of him; it doesn't uite do him justice but it's the best availableThe book's style is breezy and digressive; the author intrudes regularly The book was started by another author and then finished by Macrae; it leans heavily on secondary sources like Richard Rhodes Ulam's

  4. says:

    Interesting biography of a genius but an irritating author who keeps intruding for self congratulating comments because his political ideas coincide of those of Neumann

  5. says:

    An interesting portrait of one of the geniuses of the 20th century important contributor to Allied success in WWII and to the emerging compute

  6. says:

    Not a bad biography Certainly not rife with technical detail about Von Neumann's work but then it isn't meant to beI do think that the writer excited to have similar political views to those of a true genius gets a little too excited about defending Von Neumann from detractors – most of which are strawmen an

  7. says:

    This is an academic biography So the prose is a bit plodding and stiff; and the seuence of life events reads like a timeline

  8. says:

    Good biography on a mathematical genius embodying world history in the first half of the 20th century From a privileged upbringing in an intelle

  9. says:

    A well structured largely captivating biography of one of the most intelligent people to have ever lived The author’s political comments were occasionally irritating even when they were sentiments I shared but apart from that the b

  10. says:

    One of the worst biographies I have ever read; the Author's presence feels too big sidelining the main character of the story it's a biography It's a pity because the character is fascinating and a deeper and refined discussion of the discoveries would have made justice to Von Neumann

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