Kurt Gödel: A Biography Of “Mr. Why “

Kurt Gödel’s contribution to mathematics and science is enormous. His theory of incompleteness revolutionized the basis of logic. At the same time, it laid an important foundation for data processing and the development of quantum physics. 

Kurt Gödel is, without a doubt, the greatest mathematician, ever. One can say, thanks to his contribution, that the errors that were in the basis of mathematics, at this time, were exposed. He not only proved that there were imperfections in what mathematics knew at this time. He also showed that logic has important limitations. 

This wonderful scientist is living proof that reason and lack of reason can coexist perfectly. Both theoretically and in the lives of human beings.

Kurt Gödel was an absolutely brilliant man, but he also had complete irrational beliefs. He was a paranoid genius, some intelligence and madness existed at the same time. 

In other words, Kurt Gödel showed that we cannot prove all mathematical truths. Or as a BBC article put it: “What Gödel did was use mathematics to prove that mathematics cannot prove everything in mathematics”.

From this premise, it follows that there are truths, mathematical, and others that cannot actually be proven, even though they are probably true.

Kurt Gödel: Mr. Why

His own family gave him the nickname “Mr. Why ”. Gödel was always a person with a loose curiosity for the world he lived in. He wanted to know everything about everything and find an explanation for everything around him. As a result, he kept asking questions. That’s how he got his famous nickname.

He was born on April 28, 1906, in a town called Brünn, which, at that time, belonged to Austria-Hungary. Later, this became Czechoslovakia. Today, it is part of the Czech Republic. The problem of nationalities was very complicated for Gödel to deal with. 

He came from a German family and did not speak Czech. With the disappearance of the kingdom, he became a Czech citizen in one night. When he did not feel part of that nation, he decided to become an Austrian citizen in 1923. 

Later, Germany annexed Austria and he became a German citizen. Eventually, after World War II, he became an American citizen.

Gödel’s amazing work

Before Kurt Gödel came on stage, mathematics was a field of absolute certainty in science. In other words, this was the field that had everything that any researcher is looking for: the truth. That fact seemed indisputable until the cracks began to appear. 

By the beginning of the twentieth century, the mathematician, Georg Cantor, had already sown some doubt. Russell’s paradoxes also fueled  these doubts.

David Hilbert, a famous mathematician, therefore decided to prove that the basis of his science was as sensible as it had always been. He tried everything he could  until the emergence of Kurt Gödel and his exam thesis. It proved that this security was not the case. 

Kurt Gödel received his degree with honors from the University of Vienna. In his 11-page thesis, he asserted his incomplete theorem. Using mathematics, he managed to prove that there will always be at least one hypothesis that we cannot prove, even if it is true.

In 1936, one of his teachers was assassinated by the Nazis. As a result of this event, Gödel suffered a nervous breakdown and spent some time in several psychiatric institutions. 

Many years of work

In 1938, Kurt Gödel married Adele Nimbursky. She was a former dancer, six years older than him, and he was with her until his death.

The following year, he was drafted into the Nazi army. However, the couple decided to flee to the United States. They traveled on the exhausting Trans-Siberian Railway. They arrived at Princeton, where Gödel continued his work.

His friendship with Albert Einstein is well known. People often saw them on campus, where they went for evening walks and talked endlessly.

Gödel was also an excellent philosophy student, and both his mathematical knowledge and philosophical concerns led him to write “Gödel’s ontological proof” . This postulate is an attempt to prove the existence of God. 

For most of his life, Gödel was obsessed with paranoid thoughts and depressive states. It may be to realize that all of these “truths” could actually be questioned, which affected his mental health.

Besides this, he was convinced that someone wanted to poison him. Therefore, he would only eat what his wife prepared for him. However, his wife became ill and she was in the hospital for six months. During this time, this genius, sadly, died of starvation. 

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