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Kurt Friedrich Gödel was an Austrian American logician, mathematician, and philosopher. Later in his life he emigrated to the United States to escape the effects of World War II. One of the most significant logicians of all time, Gödel made an immense impact upon scientific and philosophical thinking in the 20th century, a time when many, such as Bertrand Russell, A. N. Whitehead and David Hilbert, were pioneering the use of logic and set theory to understand the foundations of mathematics.

Gödel is best known for his two incompleteness theorems, published in 1931 when he was 25 years old, one year after finishing his doctorate at the University of Vienna. The more famous incompleteness theorem states that for any self-consistent recursive axiomatic system powerful enough to describe the arithmetic of the natural numbers (for example Peano arithmetic), there are true propositions about the naturals that cannot be proved from the axioms. To prove this theorem, Gödel developed a technique now known as Gödel numbering, which codes formal expressions as natural numbers.

He also showed that neither the axiom of choice nor the continuum hypothesis can be disproved from the accepted axioms of set theory, assuming these axioms are consistent. The former result opened the door for "working mathematicians" to assume the axiom of choice in their proofs. He also made important contributions to proof theory by clarifying the connections between classical logic, intuitionistic logic, and modal logic.

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Kurt Friedrich Gödel was an Austrian American logician, mathematician, and philosopher. Later in his life he emigrated to the United States to escape the effects of World War II. One of the most significant logicians of all time, Gödel made an immense impact upon scientific and philosophical thinking in the 20th century, a time when many, such as Bertrand Russell, A. N. Whitehead and David Hilbert, were pioneering the use of logic and set theory to understand the foundations of mathematics.

Gödel is best known for his two incompleteness theorems, published in 1931 when he was 25 years old, one year after finishing his doctorate at the University of Vienna. The more famous incompleteness theorem states that for any self-consistent recursive axiomatic system powerful enough to describe the arithmetic of the natural numbers (for example Peano arithmetic), there are true propositions about the naturals that cannot be proved from the axioms. To prove this theorem, Gödel developed a technique now known as Gödel numbering, which codes formal expressions as natural numbers.

He also showed that neither the axiom of choice nor the continuum hypothesis can be disproved from the accepted axioms of set theory, assuming these axioms are consistent. The former result opened the door for "working mathematicians" to assume the axiom of choice in their proofs. He also made important contributions to proof theory by clarifying the connections between classical logic, intuitionistic logic, and modal logic. More...

 
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