Einstein and Godel, historical image

Einstein and Godel, historical image

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Credit: EMILIO SEGRE VISUAL ARCHIVES/AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Swiss-German physicist Albert Einstein (1879-1955, right) with Austrian-US logician and mathematician Kurt Godel (1906-1978, left). Einstein received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics for work on the photoelectric effect. However, he is best known for his paper on the special theory of relativity, which resulted in the famous equation E=mc2. Godel's 1931 proof that no finite set of axioms is sufficient to form the basis for all statements about integers, 'Godel's Incompleteness Theorem', is of major import to mathematicians and philosophers. It ended attempts to construct an axiomatic logical system to encompass the whole of mathematics. He also proved that axioms cannot be shown to be contradictory using the system that is based on them. He suffered from nervous breakdowns and depression. When he became convinced that he was being poisoned, he starved himself to death. Photographed in 1954.

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