Mathematician KURT GODEL

He turned the lens of mathematics on itself and hit upon his famous incompleteness theorem--driving a stake through the heart of formalism

Kurt Godel was born in 1906 in Brunn, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and now part of the Czech Republic, to a father who owned a textile factory and had a fondness for logic and reason and a mother who believed in starting her son's education early. By age 10, Godel was studying math, religion and several languages. By 25 he had produced what many consider the most important result of 20th century mathematics: his famous "incompleteness theorem." Godel's astonishing and disorienting discovery, published in 1931, proved that nearly a century of effort by the world's greatest mathematicians was doomed...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!