John Von Neumann

Author: Norman Macrae
Publisher: American Mathematical Soc.
ISBN: 082182676X
Release Date: 1999
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

Von Neumann is a well-known name in mathematics and was a very controversial figure because of his political views. Attractive four-color cover. This is a biography, and should do well in a number of different subject areas beyond mathematics (can be promoted in the general sciences areas).

John Von Neumann

Author: John Von Neumann
Publisher: American Mathematical Soc.
ISBN: 9780821837764
Release Date: 2005
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

John von Neuman was perhaps the most influential mathematician of the twentieth century, especially if his broad influence outside mathematics is included. Not only did he contribute to almost all branches of mathematics and created new fields, but he also changed post-World War II history with his work on the design of computers and with being a sought-after technical advisor to many figures in the U.S. military-political establishment in the 1940s and 1950s. The present volume is the first substantial collection of (previously mainly unpublished) letters written by von Neumann to colleagues, friends, government officials, and others. The letters give us a glimpse of the thinking of John von Neumann about mathematics, physics, computer science, science management, education, consulting, politics, and war. Readers of quite diverse backgrounds will find much of interest in this fascinating first-hand look at one of the towering figures of twentieth century science.

Judging Edward Teller

Author: Istvan Hargittai
Publisher: Prometheus Books
ISBN: 9781616142698
Release Date:
Genre: Science

Foreword by Peter Lax, Recipient of the National Medal of Science and the Abel PrizeAfterword by Richard Garwin, Recipient of the National Medal of Science and the Enrico Fermi AwardMany people know Edward Teller as the Father of the H-Bomb. His name tends to generate extreme views. To his supporters he was a hero of the Cold War. To his detractors he was evil personified. Between these extremes was the life of the real man.In this definitive and comprehensive biography, Hungarian scientist Istvan Hargittai, a personal acquaintance of Teller's, presents a balanced portrait of the multifaceted and enigmatic scientist against the backdrop of a turbulent period of history. Taking pains to avoid bias and preconceptions, Hargittai critically examines Teller's personality, family background, and the experiences that guided his actions-correcting many of the myths that others and Teller himself promulgated.Drawing for the first time on hitherto unknown archival material from Hungarian, American, and German sources, the author provides fresh insights that help the reader to understand Teller's motivations, his relationships with friends and foes, and his driven personality. In addition to this research and his own memories of Teller, Hargittai has interviewed for this book such prominent figures as Richard Garwin, Freeman Dyson, George A. Keyworth, and Wendy Teller (Edward Teller's daughter), among others.Hargittai reviews the significant facets of Teller's life: his Jewish-Hungarian origins, forced emigrations, brilliance in science, and devotion to the defense of the United States. He also discusses Teller's ruthless Machiavellism in achieving his goals, which included his pivotal role in the creation of the hydrogen bomb and the second weapons laboratory at Livermore, as well as his damaging testimony against physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer. Teller's peers viewed this testimony as a betrayal and, in effect, sent him into internal exile, which Hargittai describes as more tormenting to him than his previous emigrations. The author notes that Teller was sometimes called a monomaniac with many manias, such as his fierce opposition to nuclear test bans during the Cold War and, toward the end of his life, his role as propagandist for the Strategic Defense Initiative. Yet, his very excesses may have in fact contributed to the demise of the Soviet Union.Who was Edward Teller-the real Dr. Strangelove, the driven crusader for the H-Bomb, the villain who destroyed Oppenheimer, or the devoted husband, loyal friend, patriot, and strongly idealistic scientist? This monumental work will reveal the contradictory nature of this complex man in all his strengths, flaws, and brilliance.Istvan Hargittai, PhD, DSc (Budapest, Hungary), is the author of several acclaimed books including the six-volume Candid Science series of interviews with famous scientists; The Road to Stockholm: Nobel Prizes, Science, and Scientists; The Martians of Science: Five Physicists Who Changed the Twentieth Century; and The DNA Doctor: Candid Conversations with James D. Watson. Dr. Hargittai is professor of chemistry at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics and head of the George A Olah PhD School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. He is a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, a foreign member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, and a member of the Academia Europaea in London. His work on this book was assisted by a generous grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Dark Hero of the Information Age

Author: Flo Conway
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 9780786735617
Release Date: 2009-04-27
Genre: Science

Child prodigy and brilliant MIT mathematician, Norbert Wiener founded the revolutionary science of cybernetics and ignited the information-age explosion of computers, automation, and global telecommunications. His best-selling book, Cybernetics, catapulted him into the public spotlight, as did his chilling visions of the future and his ardent social activism.Based on a wealth of primary sources and exclusive access to Wiener's closest family members, friends, and colleagues, Dark Hero of the Information Age reveals this eccentric genius as an extraordinarily complex figure. No one interested in the intersection of technology and culture will want to miss this epic story of one of the twentieth century's most brilliant and colorful figures.

Theory of Games and Economic Behavior Commemorative Edition

Author: John von Neumann
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9780691130613
Release Date: 2007-03-19
Genre: Business & Economics

First published in 1944, this book, co-written by an economist & a mathematician, conceived a groundbreaking theory of economic & social organisation based on a theory of games of strategy. The result was a revolution in economics & game theory has since emerged as a major tool of analysis in many other fields.

Prisoner s Dilemma

Author: William Poundstone
Publisher: Anchor
ISBN: 9780307763785
Release Date: 2011-05-25
Genre: Mathematics

Should you watch public television without pledging?...Exceed the posted speed limit?...Hop a subway turnstile without paying? These questions illustrate the so-called "prisoner's dilemma", a social puzzle that we all face every day. Though the answers may seem simple, their profound implications make the prisoner's dilemma one of the great unifying concepts of science. Watching players bluff in a poker game inspired John von Neumann—father of the modern computer and one of the sharpest minds of the century—to construct game theory, a mathematical study of conflict and deception. Game theory was readily embraced at the RAND Corporation, the archetypical think tank charged with formulating military strategy for the atomic age, and in 1950 two RAND scientists made a momentous discovery. Called the "prisoner's dilemma," it is a disturbing and mind-bending game where two or more people may betray the common good for individual gain. Introduced shortly after the Soviet Union acquired the atomic bomb, the prisoner's dilemma quickly became a popular allegory of the nuclear arms race. Intellectuals such as von Neumann and Bertrand Russell joined military and political leaders in rallying to the "preventive war" movement, which advocated a nuclear first strike against the Soviet Union. Though the Truman administration rejected preventive war the United States entered into an arms race with the Soviets and game theory developed into a controversial tool of public policy—alternately accused of justifying arms races and touted as the only hope of preventing them. A masterful work of science writing, Prisoner's Dilemma weaves together a biography of the brilliant and tragic von Neumann, a history of pivotal phases of the cold war, and an investigation of game theory's far-reaching influence on public policy today. Most important, Prisoner's Dilemma is the incisive story of a revolutionary idea that has been hailed as a landmark of twentieth-century thought.

A Mind at Play

Author: Jimmy Soni
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 9781476766706
Release Date: 2017-07-18
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

“A charming account of one of the twentieth century’s most distinguished scientists…a modern-day Da Vinci” (Fortune) whose insights stand behind every computer built, email sent, video streamed, and webpage loaded—“without Shannon, the digital revolution would have ground to a halt” (The Wall Street Journal). Claude Shannon was a groundbreaking polymath, a brilliant tinkerer, and a digital pioneer. He constructed a fleet of customized unicycles and a flamethrowing trumpet, outfoxed Vegas casinos, and built juggling robots. He also wrote the seminal text of the digital revolution, which has been called “the Magna Carta of the Information Age.” His discoveries would lead contemporaries to compare him to Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton. His work anticipated by decades the world we’d be living in today—and gave mathematicians and engineers the tools to bring that world to pass. In this “welcome and inspiring account of a largely unsung hero” (Kirkus Reviews), Jimmy Soni and Rob Goodman reveal Claude Shannon’s full story for the first time. It’s the story of a small-town Michigan boy whose career stretched from the era of room-sized computers powered by gears and string to the age of Apple. It’s the story of the origins of our digital world in the tunnels of MIT and the “idea factory” of Bell Labs, in the “scientists’ war” with Nazi Germany, and in the work of Shannon’s collaborators and rivals, thinkers like Alan Turing, John von Neumann, Vannevar Bush, and Norbert Wiener. And it’s the story of Shannon’s life as an often reclusive, always playful genius. “We owe Claude Shannon a lot, and Soni and Goodman’s book takes a big first step in paying that debt” (San Francisco Review of Books). With access to Shannon’s family and friends, A Mind at Play is “a boon for those eager to know more about his incredibly influential life—whimsical, independent and curiosity-driven...a vivid portrayal” (Nature).

Turing s Cathedral

Author: George Dyson
Publisher: Pantheon
ISBN: 9780375422775
Release Date: 2012
Genre: Science

Documents the innovations of a group of eccentric geniuses who developed computer code in the mid-20th century as part of mathematician Alan Turin's theoretical universal machine idea, exploring how their ideas led to such developments as digital television, modern genetics and the hydrogen bomb.

The Tragedy of Great Power Politics Updated Edition

Author: John J. Mearsheimer
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 0393076245
Release Date: 2003-01-17
Genre: Political Science

"A superb book.…Mearsheimer has made a significant contribution to our understanding of the behavior of great powers."—Barry R. Posen, The National Interest The updated edition of this classic treatise on the behavior of great powers takes a penetrating look at the question likely to dominate international relations in the twenty-first century: Can China rise peacefully? In clear, eloquent prose, John Mearsheimer explains why the answer is no: a rising China will seek to dominate Asia, while the United States, determined to remain the world's sole regional hegemon, will go to great lengths to prevent that from happening. The tragedy of great power politics is inescapable.

The Signal and the Noise

Author: Nate Silver
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9780143125082
Release Date: 2015
Genre: Business & Economics

The founder of FiveThirtyEight.com challenges myths about predictions in subjects ranging from the financial market and weather to sports and politics, profiling the world of prediction to explain how readers can distinguish true signals from hype, in a report that also reveals the sources and societal costs of wrongful predictions.

Machine Dreams

Author: Philip Mirowski
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 0521775264
Release Date: 2002
Genre: Business & Economics

This was the first cross-over book into the history of science written by an historian of economics. It shows how 'history of technology' can be integrated with the history of economic ideas. The analysis combines Cold War history with the history of postwar economics in America and later elsewhere, revealing that the Pax Americana had much to do with abstruse and formal doctrines such as linear programming and game theory. It links the literature on 'cyborg' to economics, an element missing in literature to date. The treatment further calls into question the idea that economics has been immune to postmodern currents, arguing that neoclassical economics has participated in the deconstruction of the integral 'self'. Finally, it argues for an alliance of computational and institutional themes, and challenges the widespread impression that there is nothing else besides American neoclassical economic theory left standing after the demise of Marxism.

The Martians of Science

Author: István Hargittai
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780195365566
Release Date: 2008
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

If science has the equivalent of a Bloomsbury group, it is the five men born at the turn of the twentieth century in Budapest: Theodore von Karman, Leo Szilard, Eugene Wigner, John von Neumann, and Edward Teller. From Hungary to Germany to the United States, they remained friends and continued to work together and influence each other throughout their lives. As a result, their work was integral to some of the most important scientific and political developments of the twentieth century.Istvan Hargittai tells the story of this remarkable group: Wigner won a Nobel Prize in theoretical physics; Szilard was the first to see that a chain reaction based on neutrons was possible, initiated the Manhattan Project, but left physics to try to restrict nuclear arms; von Neumann could solve difficult problems in his head and developed the modern computer for more complex problems; von Karman became the first director of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, providing the scientific basis for the U.S. Air Force; and Teller was the father of the hydrogen bomb, whose name is now synonymous with the controversial "Star Wars" initiative of the 1980s. Each was fiercely opinionated, politically active, and fought against all forms of totalitarianism. Hargittai, as a young Hungarian physical chemist, was able to get to know some of these great men in their later years, and the depth of information and human interest in The Martians of Science is the result of his personal relationships with the subjects, their families, and their contemporaries. "This is an important story that needs to be told, and Hargittai tells it well." - Nature "What a story! Hargittai, a Jewish-Hungarian like his heroes, tells the remarkable story of five immigrants, of vastly different politics, without whom American science (and the world) would not be the same." - Roald Hoffmann, Nobel laureate, Cornell University

Protean Power

Author: Peter J. Katzenstein
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781108425179
Release Date: 2018-01-31
Genre: Political Science

Inquires into the role of the unexpected in world politics by examining the protean power effects of agile innovation and improvisation.

Games in Economic Development

Author: Bruce Wydick
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781139468015
Release Date: 2007-12-24
Genre: Business & Economics

Games in Economic Development examines the roots of poverty and prosperity through the lens of elementary game theory, illustrating how patterns of human interaction can lead to vicious cycles of poverty as well as virtuous cycles of prosperity. This book shows how both social norms and carefully designed institutions can help shape the 'rules of the game', making better outcomes in a game possible for everyone involved. The book is entertaining to read, it can be accessed with little background in development economics or game theory. Its chapters explore games in natural resource use; education; coping with risk; borrowing and lending; technology adoption; governance and corruption; civil conflict; international trade; and the importance of networks, religion, and identity, illustrating concepts with numerous anecdotes from recent world events. Comes complete with an appendix, explaining the basic ideas in game theory used in the book.

The Essential John Nash

Author: John Nash
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400884087
Release Date: 2016-06-29
Genre: Mathematics

When John Nash won the Nobel prize in economics in 1994, many people were surprised to learn that he was alive and well. Since then, Sylvia Nasar's celebrated biography A Beautiful Mind, the basis of a new major motion picture, has revealed the man. The Essential John Nash reveals his work--in his own words. This book presents, for the first time, the full range of Nash's diverse contributions not only to game theory, for which he received the Nobel, but to pure mathematics--from Riemannian geometry and partial differential equations--in which he commands even greater acclaim among academics. Included are nine of Nash's most influential papers, most of them written over the decade beginning in 1949. From 1959 until his astonishing remission three decades later, the man behind the concepts "Nash equilibrium" and "Nash bargaining"--concepts that today pervade not only economics but nuclear strategy and contract talks in major league sports--had lived in the shadow of a condition diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenia. In the introduction to this book, Nasar recounts how Nash had, by the age of thirty, gone from being a wunderkind at Princeton and a rising mathematical star at MIT to the depths of mental illness. In his preface, Harold Kuhn offers personal insights on his longtime friend and colleague; and in introductions to several of Nash's papers, he provides scholarly context. In an afterword, Nash describes his current work, and he discusses an error in one of his papers. A photo essay chronicles Nash's career from his student days in Princeton to the present. Also included are Nash's Nobel citation and autobiography. The Essential John Nash makes it plain why one of Nash's colleagues termed his style of intellectual inquiry as "like lightning striking." All those inspired by Nash's dazzling ideas will welcome this unprecedented opportunity to trace these ideas back to the exceptional mind they came from.