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Fluid dynamics

Von Neumann made fundamental contributions in the field of fluid dynamics.

Von Neumann's contributions to fluid dynamics included his discovery of the classic flow solution to blast waves,[111] and the co-discovery (independently of Yakov Borisovich Zel'dovich and Werner Döring) of the ZND detonation model of explosives.[112] During the 1930s, von Neumann became an authority on the mathematics of shaped charges.[113]

Later with Robert D. Richtmyer, von Neumann developed an algorithm defining artificial viscosity that improved the understanding of shock waves. When computers solved hydrodynamic or aerodynamic problems, they tried to put too many computational grid points at regions of sharp discontinuity (shock waves). The mathematics of artificial viscosity smoothed the shock transition without sacrificing basic physics.[114]

Von Neumann soon applied computer modelling to the field, developing software for his ballistics research. During WW2, he arrived one day at the office of R.H. Kent, the Director of the US Army's Ballistic Research Laboratory, with a computer program he had created for calculating a one-dimensional model of 100 molecules to simulate a shock wave. Von Neumann then gave a seminar on his computer program to an audience which included his friend Theodore von Kármán. After von Neumann had finished, von Kármán said "Well, Johnny, that's very interesting. Of course you realize Lagrange also used digital models to simulate continuum mechanics." It was evident from von Neumann's face, that he had been unaware of Lagrange's Mécanique analytique.[115]

Mastery of mathematics

Stan Ulam, who knew von Neumann well, described his mastery of mathematics this way: "Most mathematicians know one method. For example, Norbert Wiener had mastered Fourier transforms. Some mathematicians have mastered two methods and might really impress someone who knows only one of them. John von Neumann had mastered three methods." He went on to explain that the three methods were:


  • A facility with the symbolic manipulation of linear operators;
  • An intuitive feeling for the logical structure of any new mathematical theory;
  • An intuitive feeling for the combinatorial superstructure of new theories.[116]

Edward Teller wrote that "Nobody knows all science, not even von Neumann did. But as for mathematics, he contributed to every part of it except number theory and topology. That is, I think, something unique."[117]

Von Neumann was asked to write an essay for the layman describing what mathematics is, and produced a beautiful analysis. He explained that mathematics straddles the world between the empirical and logical, arguing that geometry was originally empirical, but Euclid constructed a logical, deductive theory. However, he argued, that there is always the danger of straying too far from the real world and becoming irrelevant sophistry.[118][119][120]

Nuclear weapons



Von Neumann's wartime Los Alamos ID badge photo
Manhattan Project

Beginning in the late 1930s, von Neumann developed an expertise in explosions—phenomena that are difficult to model mathematically. During this period, von Neumann was the leading authority of the mathematics of shaped charges. This led him to a large number of military consultancies, primarily for the Navy, which in turn led to his involvement in the Manhattan Project. The involvement included frequent trips by train to the project's secret research facilities at the Los Alamos Laboratory in a remote part of New Mexico.[30]

Von Neumann made his principal contribution to the atomic bomb in the concept and design of the explosive lenses that were needed to compress the plutonium core of the Fat Man weapon that was later dropped on Nagasaki. While von Neumann did not originate the "implosion" concept, he was one of its most persistent proponents, encouraging its continued development against the instincts of many of his colleagues, who felt such a design to be unworkable. He also eventually came up with the idea of using more powerful shaped charges and less fissionable material to greatly increase the speed of "assembly".[121]

When it turned out that there would not be enough uranium-235 to make more than one bomb, the implosive lens project was greatly expanded and von Neumann's idea was implemented. Implosion was the only method that could be used with the plutonium-239 that was available from the Hanford Site.[122] He established the design of the explosive lenses required, but there remained concerns about "edge effects" and imperfections in the explosives.[123] His calculations showed that implosion would work if it did not depart by more than 5% from spherical symmetry.[124] After a series of failed attempts with models, this was achieved by George Kistiakowsky, and the construction of the Trinity bomb was completed in July 1945.[125]

In a visit to Los Alamos in September 1944, von Neumann showed that the pressure increase from explosion shock wave reflection from solid objects was greater than previously believed if the angle of incidence of the shock wave was between 90° and some limiting angle. As a result, it was determined that the effectiveness of an atomic bomb would be enhanced with detonation some kilometers above the target, rather than at ground level.[126][127]




Implosion mechanism

Von Neumann, four other scientists, and various military personnel were included in the target selection committee that was responsible for choosing the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as the first targets of the atomic bomb. Von Neumann oversaw computations related to the expected size of the bomb blasts, estimated death tolls, and the distance above the ground at which the bombs should be detonated for optimum shock wave propagation and thus maximum effect. The cultural capital Kyoto, which had been spared the bombing inflicted upon militarily significant cities, was von Neumann's first choice,[128] a selection seconded by Manhattan Project leader General Leslie Groves. However, this target was dismissed by Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson.[129]

On July 16, 1945, von Neumann and numerous other Manhattan Project personnel were eyewitnesses to the first test of an atomic bomb detonation, which was code-named Trinity. The event was conducted as a test of the implosion method device, at the bombing range near Alamogordo Army Airfield, 35 miles (56 km) southeast of Socorro, New Mexico. Based on his observation alone, von Neumann estimated the test had resulted in a blast equivalent to 5 kilotons of TNT (21 TJ) but Enrico Fermi produced a more accurate estimate of 10 kilotons by dropping scraps of torn-up paper as the shock wave passed his location and watching how far they scattered. The actual power of the explosion had been between 20 and 22 kilotons.[130] It was in von Neumann's 1944 papers that the expression "kilotons" appeared for the first time.[131] After the war, Robert Oppenheimer remarked that the physicists involved in the Manhattan project had "known sin". Von Neumann's response was that "sometimes someone confesses a sin in order to take credit for it."[132]

Von Neumann continued unperturbed in his work and became, along with Edward Teller, one of those who sustained the hydrogen bomb project. He collaborated with Klaus Fuchs on further development of the bomb, and in 1946 the two filed a secret patent on "Improvement in Methods and Means for Utilizing Nuclear Energy", which outlined a scheme for using a fission bomb to compress fusion fuel to initiate nuclear fusion.[133] The Fuchs–von Neumann patent used radiation implosion, but not in the same way as is used in what became the final hydrogen bomb design, the Teller–Ulam design. Their work was, however, incorporated into the "George" shot of Operation Greenhouse, which was instructive in testing out concepts that went into the final design.[134] The Fuchs–von Neumann work was passed on to the Soviet Union by Fuchs as part of his nuclear espionage, but it was not used in the Soviets' own, independent development of the Teller–Ulam design. The historian Jeremy Bernstein has pointed out that ironically, "John von Neumann and Klaus Fuchs, produced a brilliant invention in 1946 that could have changed the whole course of the development of the hydrogen bomb, but was not fully understood until after the bomb had been successfully made."[134]

For his wartime services, von Neumann was awarded the Navy Distinguished Civilian Service Award in July 1946, and the Medal for Merit in October 1946.[135]

Atomic Energy Commission

In 1950, von Neumann became a consultant to the Weapons Systems Evaluation Group (WSEG),[136] whose function was to advise the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the United States Secretary of Defense on the development and use of new technologies.[137] He also became an adviser to the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project (AFSWP), which was responsible for the military aspects on nuclear weapons. Over the following two years, he became a consultant to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), a member of the influential General Advisory Committee of the Atomic Energy Commission, a consultant to the newly established Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group of the United States Air Force.[136]

In 1955, von Neumann became a commissioner of the AEC. He accepted this position and used it to further the production of compact hydrogen bombs suitable for Intercontinental ballistic missile delivery. He involved himself in correcting the severe shortage of tritium and lithium 6 needed for these compact weapons, and he argued against settling for the intermediate-range missiles that the Army wanted. He was adamant that H-bombs delivered into the heart of enemy territory by an ICBM would be the most effective weapon possible, and that the relative inaccuracy of the missile wouldn't be a problem with an H-bomb. He said the Russians would probably be building a similar weapon system, which turned out to be the case.[138][139] Despite his disagreement with Oppenheimer over the need for a crash program to develop the hydrogen bomb, he testified on the latter's behalf at the 1954 Oppenheimer security hearing, at which he asserted that Oppenheimer was loyal, and praised him for his helpfulness once the program went ahead.[18]

Shortly before his death from cancer, von Neumann headed the United States government's top secret ICBM committee, which would sometimes meet in his home. Its purpose was to decide on the feasibility of building an ICBM large enough to carry a thermonuclear weapon. Von Neumann had long argued that while the technical obstacles were sizable, they could be overcome in time. The SM-65 Atlas passed its first fully functional test in 1959, two years after his death. The feasibility of an ICBM owed as much to improved, smaller warheads as it did to developments in rocketry, and his understanding of the former made his advice invaluable.[140]
 

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Mutual assured destruction



Operation Redwing nuclear test in July 1956

Von Neumann is credited with developing the equilibrium strategy of mutual assured destruction (MAD). He also "moved heaven and earth" to bring MAD about. His goal was to quickly develop ICBMs and the compact hydrogen bombs that they could deliver to the USSR, and he knew the Soviets were doing similar work because the CIA interviewed German rocket scientists who were allowed to return to Germany, and von Neumann had planted a dozen technical people in the CIA. The Soviets considered that bombers would soon be vulnerable, and they shared von Neumann's view that an H-bomb in an ICBM was the ne plus ultra of weapons; they believed that whoever had superiority in these weapons would take over the world, without necessarily using them.[141] He was afraid of a "missile gap" and took several more steps to achieve his goal of keeping up with the Soviets:


  • He modified the ENIAC by making it programmable and then wrote programs for it to do the H-bomb calculations verifying that the Teller-Ulam design was feasible and to develop it further.
  • Through the Atomic Energy Commission, he promoted the development of a compact H-bomb that would fit in an ICBM.
  • He personally interceded to speed up the production of lithium-6 and tritium needed for the compact bombs.
  • He caused several separate missile projects to be started, because he felt that competition combined with collaboration got the best results.[142]

Von Neumann's assessment that the Soviets had a lead in missile technology, considered pessimistic at the time, was soon proven correct in the Sputnik crisis.[143]

Von Neumann entered government service primarily because he felt that, if freedom and civilization were to survive, it would have to be because the United States would triumph over totalitarianism from Nazism, Fascism and Soviet Communism.[51] During a Senate committee hearing he described his political ideology as "violently anti-communist, and much more militaristic than the norm". He was quoted in 1950 remarking, "If you say why not bomb [the Soviets] tomorrow, I say, why not today? If you say today at five o'clock, I say why not one o'clock?"[144]

On February 15, 1956, von Neumann was presented with the Medal of Freedom by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. His citation read:


Dr. von Neumann, in a series of scientific study projects of major national significance, has materially increased the scientific progress of this country in the armaments field. Through his work on various highly classified missions performed outside the continental limits of the United States in conjunction with critically important international programs, Dr. von Neumann has resolved some of the most difficult technical problems of national defense.[145]
Computing

Von Neumann was a founding figure in computing.[146] Von Neumann was the inventor, in 1945, of the merge sort algorithm, in which the first and second halves of an array are each sorted recursively and then merged.[147][148] Von Neumann wrote the 23 pages long sorting program for the EDVAC in ink. On the first page, traces of the phrase "TOP SECRET", which was written in pencil and later erased, can still be seen.[148] He also worked on the philosophy of artificial intelligence with Alan Turing when the latter visited Princeton in the 1930s.[149]

Von Neumann's hydrogen bomb work was played out in the realm of computing, where he and Stanisław Ulam developed simulations on von Neumann's digital computers for the hydrodynamic computations. During this time he contributed to the development of the Monte Carlo method, which allowed solutions to complicated problems to be approximated using random numbers.[150]




Flow chart from von Neumann's "Planning and coding of problems for an electronic computing instrument," published in 1947.

Von Neumann's algorithm for simulating a fair coin with a biased coin is used in the "software whitening" stage of some hardware random number generators.[151] Because using lists of "truly" random numbers was extremely slow, von Neumann developed a form of making pseudorandom numbers, using the middle-square method. Though this method has been criticized as crude, von Neumann was aware of this: he justified it as being faster than any other method at his disposal, writing that "Anyone who considers arithmetical methods of producing random digits is, of course, in a state of sin."[152] Von Neumann also noted that when this method went awry it did so obviously, unlike other methods which could be subtly incorrect.[152]

While consulting for the Moore School of Electrical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania on the EDVAC project, von Neumann wrote an incomplete First Draft of a Report on the EDVAC. The paper, whose premature distribution nullified the patent claims of EDVAC designers J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly, described a computer architecture in which the data and the program are both stored in the computer's memory in the same address space. This architecture is the basis of most modern computer designs, unlike the earliest computers that were "programmed" using a separate memory device such as a paper tape or plugboard. Although the single-memory, stored program architecture is commonly called von Neumann architecture as a result of von Neumann's paper, the architecture was based on the work of Eckert and Mauchly, inventors of the ENIAC computer at the University of Pennsylvania.[153]

John von Neumann consulted for the Army's Ballistic Research Laboratory, most notably on the ENIAC project,[154] as a member of its Scientific Advisory Committee.[155] The electronics of the new ENIAC ran at one-sixth the speed, but this in no way degraded the ENIAC's performance, since it was still entirely I/O bound. Complicated programs could be developed and debugged in days rather than the weeks required for plugboarding the old ENIAC. Some of von Neumann's early computer programs have been preserved.[156]

The next computer that von Neumann designed was the IAS machine at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. He arranged its financing, and the components were designed and built at the RCA Research Laboratory nearby. John von Neumann recommended that the IBM 701, nicknamed the defense computer, include a magnetic drum. It was a faster version of the IAS machine and formed the basis for the commercially successful IBM 704.[157][158]

Stochastic computing was first introduced in a pioneering paper by von Neumann in 1953.[159] However, the theory could not be implemented until advances in computing of the 1960s.[160][161]

Cellular automata, DNA and the universal constructor

See also: von Neumann cellular automaton, von Neumann universal constructor, von Neumann neighborhood, and von Neumann Probe



The first implementation of von Neumann's self-reproducing universal constructor.[162] Three generations of machine are shown: the second has nearly finished constructing the third. The lines running to the right are the tapes of genetic instructions, which are copied along with the body of the machines.


A simple configuration in von Neumann's cellular automaton. A binary signal is passed repeatedly around the blue wire loop, using excited and quiescent ordinary transmission states. A confluent cell duplicates the signal onto a length of red wire consisting of special transmission states. The signal passes down this wire and constructs a new cell at the end. This particular signal (1011) codes for an east-directed special transmission state, thus extending the red wire by one cell each time. During construction, the new cell passes through several sensitised states, directed by the binary sequence.
 

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Von Neumann's rigorous mathematical analysis of the structure of self-replication (of the semiotic relationship between constructor, description and that which is constructed), preceded the discovery of the structure of DNA.[163]

Von Neumann created the field of cellular automata without the aid of computers, constructing the first self-replicating automata with pencil and graph paper.

The detailed proposal for a physical non-biological self-replicating system was first put forward in lectures von Neumann delivered in 1948 and 1949, when he first only proposed a kinematic self-reproducing automaton.[164][165] While qualitatively sound, von Neumann was evidently dissatisfied with this model of a self-replicator due to the difficulty of analyzing it with mathematical rigor. He went on to instead develop a more abstract model self-replicator based on his original concept of cellular automata.[166]

Subsequently, the concept of the Von Neumann universal constructor based on the von Neumann cellular automaton was fleshed out in his posthumously published lectures Theory of Self Reproducing Automata.[167] Ulam and von Neumann created a method for calculating liquid motion in the 1950s. The driving concept of the method was to consider a liquid as a group of discrete units and calculate the motion of each based on its neighbors' behaviors.[168] Like Ulam's lattice network, von Neumann's cellular automata are two-dimensional, with his self-replicator implemented algorithmically. The result was a universal copier and constructor working within a cellular automaton with a small neighborhood (only those cells that touch are neighbors; for von Neumann's cellular automata, only orthogonal cells), and with 29 states per cell.[169] Von Neumann gave an existence proof that a particular pattern would make infinite copies of itself within the given cellular universe by designing a 200,000 cell configuration that could do so.[169]


[T]here exists a critical size below which the process of synthesis is degenerative, but above which the phenomenon of synthesis, if properly arranged, can become explosive, in other words, where syntheses of automata can proceed in such a manner that each automaton will produce other automata which are more complex and of higher potentialities than itself.
—von Neumann, 1948[167]

Von Neumann addressed the evolutionary growth of complexity amongst his self-replicating machines.[170] His "proof-of-principle" designs showed how it is logically possible, by using a general purpose programmable ("universal") constructor, to exhibit an indefinitely large class of self-replicators, spanning a wide range of complexity, interconnected by a network of potential mutational pathways, including pathways from the most simple to the most complex. This is an important result, as prior to that it might have been conjectured that there is a fundamental logical barrier to the existence of such pathways; in which case, biological organisms, which do support such pathways, could not be "machines", as conventionally understood. Von Neumman considers the potential for conflict between his self-reproducing machines, stating that "our models lead to such conflict situations",[171] indicating it as a field of further study.[167]:147

The cybernetics movement highlighted the question of what it takes for self-reproduction to occur autonomously, and in 1952, John von Neumann designed an elaborate 2D cellular automaton that would automatically make a copy of its initial configuration of cells.[172] The von Neumann neighborhood, in which each cell in a two-dimensional grid has the four orthogonally adjacent grid cells as neighbors, continues to be used for other cellular automata. Von Neumann proved that the most effective way of performing large-scale mining operations such as mining an entire moon or asteroid belt would be by using self-replicating spacecraft, taking advantage of their exponential growth.[173]

Von Neumann investigated the question of whether modelling evolution on a digital computer could solve the complexity problem in programming.[171]

Beginning in 1949, von Neumann's design for a self-reproducing computer program is considered the world's first computer virus, and he is considered to be the theoretical father of computer virology.[174]
 

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Weather systems and global warming

As part of his research into weather forecasting, von Neumann founded the "Meteorological Program" in Princeton in 1946, securing funding for his project from the US Navy.[175] Von Neumann and his appointed assistant on this project, Jule Gregory Charney, wrote the world's first climate modelling software, and used it to perform the world's first numerical weather forecasts on the ENIAC computer;[175] von Neumann and his team published the results as Numerical Integration of the Barotropic Vorticity Equation in 1950.[176] Together they played a leading role in efforts to integrate sea-air exchanges of energy and moisture into the study of climate.[177] Von Neumann proposed as the research program for climate modeling: "The approach is to first try short-range forecasts, then long-range forecasts of those properties of the circulation that can perpetuate themselves over arbitrarily long periods of time, and only finally to attempt forecast for medium-long time periods which are too long to treat by simple hydrodynamic theory and too short to treat by the general principle of equilibrium theory."[178]

Von Neumann's research into weather systems and meteorological prediction led him to propose manipulating the environment by spreading colorants on the polar ice caps to enhance absorption of solar radiation (by reducing the albedo),[179][180] thereby inducing global warming.[179][180] Von Neumann proposed a theory of global warming as a result of the activity of humans, noting that the Earth was only 6 °F (3.3 °C) colder during the last glacial period, he wrote in 1955: "Carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by industry's burning of coal and oil - more than half of it during the last generation - may have changed the atmosphere's composition sufficiently to account for a general warming of the world by about one degree Fahrenheit."[181][182] However, von Neumann urged a degree of caution in any program of intentional human weather manufacturing: "What could be done, of course, is no index to what should be done... In fact, to evaluate the ultimate consequences of either a general cooling or a general heating would be a complex matter. Changes would affect the level of the seas, and hence the habitability of the continental coastal shelves; the evaporation of the seas, and hence general precipitation and glaciation levels; and so on... But there is little doubt that one could carry out the necessary analyses needed to predict the results, intervene on any desired scale, and ultimately achieve rather fantastic results."[182]


"The technology that is now developing and that will dominate the next decades is in conflict with traditional, and, in the main, momentarily still valid, geographical and political units and concepts. This is a maturing crisis of technology... The most hopeful answer is that the human species has been subjected to similar tests before and it seems to have a congenital ability to come through, after varying amounts of trouble."
—von Neumann, 1955[182]
Technological singularity hypothesis

See also: Technological singularity

The first use of the concept of a singularity in the technological context is attributed to von Neumann,[183] who according to Ulam discussed the "ever accelerating progress of technology and changes in the mode of human life, which gives the appearance of approaching some essential singularity in the history of the race beyond which human affairs, as we know them, could not continue."[184] This concept was fleshed out later in the book Future Shock by Alvin Toffler.

Cognitive abilities

Nobel Laureate Hans Bethe said "I have sometimes wondered whether a brain like von Neumann's does not indicate a species superior to that of man",[19] and later Bethe wrote that "[von Neumann's] brain indicated a new species, an evolution beyond man".[185] Seeing von Neumann's mind at work, Eugene Wigner wrote, "one had the impression of a perfect instrument whose gears were machined to mesh accurately to a thousandth of an inch."[186] Paul Halmos states that "von Neumann's speed was awe-inspiring."[18] Israel Halperin said: "Keeping up with him was ... impossible. The feeling was you were on a tricycle chasing a racing car."[187] Edward Teller admitted that he "never could keep up with him".[188] Teller also said "von Neumann would carry on a conversation with my 3-year-old son, and the two of them would talk as equals, and I sometimes wondered if he used the same principle when he talked to the rest of us."[189] Peter Lax wrote "Von Neumann was addicted to thinking, and in particular to thinking about mathematics".[190]

When George Dantzig brought von Neumann an unsolved problem in linear programming "as I would to an ordinary mortal", on which there had been no published literature, he was astonished when von Neumann said "Oh, that!", before offhandedly giving a lecture of over an hour, explaining how to solve the problem using the hitherto unconceived theory of duality.[191]

Lothar Wolfgang Nordheim described von Neumann as the "fastest mind I ever met",[192] and Jacob Bronowski wrote "He was the cleverest man I ever knew, without exception. He was a genius."[193] George Pólya, whose lectures at ETH Zürich von Neumann attended as a student, said "Johnny was the only student I was ever afraid of. If in the course of a lecture I stated an unsolved problem, the chances were he'd come to me at the end of the lecture with the complete solution scribbled on a slip of paper."[194] Eugene Wigner writes: "'Jancsi,' I might say, 'Is angular momentum always an integer of h? ' He would return a day later with a decisive answer: 'Yes, if all particles are at rest.'... We were all in awe of Jancsi von Neumann".[195] Enrico Fermi told physicist Herbert L. Anderson: "You know, Herb, Johnny can do calculations in his head ten times as fast as I can! And I can do them ten times as fast as you can, Herb, so you can see how impressive Johnny is!"[196]

Halmos recounts a story told by Nicholas Metropolis, concerning the speed of von Neumann's calculations, when somebody asked von Neumann to solve the famous fly puzzle:[197]


Two bicyclists start 20 miles apart and head toward each other, each going at a steady rate of 10 mph. At the same time a fly that travels at a steady 15 mph starts from the front wheel of the southbound bicycle and flies to the front wheel of the northbound one, then turns around and flies to the front wheel of the southbound one again, and continues in this manner till he is crushed between the two front wheels. Question: what total distance did the fly cover? The slow way to find the answer is to calculate what distance the fly covers on the first, southbound, leg of the trip, then on the second, northbound, leg, then on the third, etc., etc., and, finally, to sum the infinite series so obtained.
The quick way is to observe that the bicycles meet exactly one hour after their start, so that the fly had just an hour for his travels; the answer must therefore be 15 miles.
When the question was put to von Neumann, he solved it in an instant, and thereby disappointed the questioner: "Oh, you must have heard the trick before!" "What trick?" asked von Neumann, "All I did was sum the geometric series."[18]
Eugene Wigner told a similar story, only with a swallow instead of a fly, and says it was Max Born who posed the question to von Neumann in the 1920s.[198]

Von Neumann was also noted for his eidetic memory (sometimes called photographic memory). Herman Goldstine wrote:


One of his remarkable abilities was his power of absolute recall. As far as I could tell, von Neumann was able on once reading a book or article to quote it back verbatim; moreover, he could do it years later without hesitation. He could also translate it at no diminution in speed from its original language into English. On one occasion I tested his ability by asking him to tell me how A Tale of Two Cities started. Whereupon, without any pause, he immediately began to recite the first chapter and continued until asked to stop after about ten or fifteen minutes.[199]
Von Neumann was reportedly able to memorize the pages of telephone directories. He entertained friends by asking them to randomly call out page numbers; he then recited the names, addresses and numbers therein.[19][200]

Mathematical legacy

"It seems fair to say that if the influence of a scientist is interpreted broadly enough to include impact on fields beyond science proper, then John von Neumann was probably the most influential mathematician who ever lived," wrote Miklós Rédei in John von Neumann: Selected Letters.[201] James Glimm wrote: "he is regarded as one of the giants of modern mathematics".[202] The mathematician Jean Dieudonné said that von Neumann "may have been the last representative of a once-flourishing and numerous group, the great mathematicians who were equally at home in pure and applied mathematics and who throughout their careers maintained a steady production in both directions",[3] while Peter Lax described him as possessing the "most scintillating intellect of this century".[203] In the foreword of Miklós Rédei's Selected Letters, Peter Lax wrote, "To gain a measure of von Neumann's achievements, consider that had he lived a normal span of years, he would certainly have been a recipient of a Nobel Prize in economics. And if there were Nobel Prizes in computer science and mathematics, he would have been honored by these, too. So the writer of these letters should be thought of as a triple Nobel laureate or, possibly, a 3 1⁄2-fold winner, for his work in physics, in particular, quantum mechanics".[204]
 

Edicts Fiori Gilt

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I had to bump this thread. These are my favourite type of lookism threads.
 

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He has alot of good ideas and discussions
no, he doesn't. all his attempts of "theorizing" ended up being ridiculed by academics and dismissed as the usual mumbo jumbo tautological bullshit without any real substance. not to mention the falsifiability problem.
 

Userr

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no, he doesn't. all his attempts of "theorizing" ended up being ridiculed by academics and dismissed as the usual mumbo jumbo tautological bullshit without any real substance. not to mention the falsifiability problem.
i dont know alot but from what i seen himtalk everything seems to be grounded in reality.

you cant just handwave the smartest man in the world away because academia dosent like him
 

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i dont know alot but from what i seen himtalk everything seems to be grounded in reality.

you cant just handwave the smartest man in the world away because academia dosent like him
everything he's saying is only grounded in circular logic, spamming big words and throwing catchy non-falsifiable claims around. mvp tier wisdom.

and there's no liking/disliking in the academia, he's simply full of shit and can't pass peer review.
 

Userr

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everything he's saying is only grounded in circular logic, spamming big words and throwing catchy non-falsifiable claims around. mvp tier wisdom.

and there's no liking/disliking in the academia, he's simply full of shit and can't pass peer review.
i have a problem with peer review

i dont know enough about him to defend him gennerly but he says enough good things to seem founded in reality. I dont think he is mvp crasy so i think he has some merit to atleast something he says.


peer review is kinda scandleous theres studies on it and its accuracy.


i dont expect you to watch it but it would explain why peer review system is many times. "let us read ur book before you publish it to slander it on politcal grounds and give u a unfair footing".

 

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Banderas at copying and pasting large sections of the von Neumann wiki to "prove" your point
 

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all one guy. that's what top 0.0000001% IQ produces. not ramblings about ... the IQ of somalis, lmao.
Von Neumann was calculating equations in his head as a little kid only to become one of the most important scientists of the last century. This dude grew up to become a bouncer and then spent twenty years memorizing IQ test patterns so he could start pretending that he is a super genius only to produce some philosophical bullshit all university professors that looked at it mocked it as nonsense
 

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Banderas at copying and pasting large sections of the von Neumann wiki to "prove" your point
i didnt read it but i hope to god it was a joke
Von Neumann was calculating equations in his head as a little kid only to become one of the most important scientists of the last century. This dude grew up to become a bouncer and then spent twenty years memorizing IQ test patterns so he could start pretending that he is a super genius only to produce some philosophical bullshit all university professors that looked at it mocked it as nonsense
denying he is high iq is like astoubnding he had to be cloes to 200 iq to fake 200iq
 

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i didnt read it but i hope to god it was a joke

denying he is high iq is like astoubnding he had to be cloes to 200 iq to fake 200iq
You are only defending him because he is a racist.

His only "evidence" for his IQ being 200 is a test he took from a society he himself founded:
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The evidence for his IQ being 160 is taken from a TV show which apparently took him to a psychologist where he scored the highest possible score of 160 on a Wechsler test.

I don't believe a word that clown says. He claims to be the smartest man on Earth yet is unable to accomplish ANYTHING in his life. He runs some joke of a cult similar to Stefan Molyneux and that is the end of his accomplishments.

He is a fraud. Just like that chick that claimed to have 225 IQ which was debunked long ago.
 

Userr

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You are only defending him because he is a racist.

His only "evidence" for his IQ being 200 is a test he took from a society he himself founded:
View attachment 46602
View attachment 46603

The evidence for his IQ being 160 is taken from a TV show which apparently took him to a psychologist where he scored the highest possible score of 160 on a Wechsler test.

I don't believe a word that clown says. He claims to be the smartest man on Earth yet is unable to accomplish ANYTHING in his life. He runs some joke of a cult similar to Stefan Molyneux and that is the end of his accomplishments.

He is a fraud. Just like that chick that claimed to have 225 IQ which was debunked long ago.
im pretty sure he got his iq testsed when he did a iq test and scored so high that he was contacted

and im pretty sure his iq is confirmed 200 give or take more thats why he got the title officaly


also he obivosuly isnt a low iq or high iq man he is obviously a etermley hih iq man, like watch the gameshow
 

1 post alt

on my way out
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You are only defending him because he is a racist.

His only "evidence" for his IQ being 200 is a test he took from a society he himself founded:
View attachment 46602
View attachment 46603

The evidence for his IQ being 160 is taken from a TV show which apparently took him to a psychologist where he scored the highest possible score of 160 on a Wechsler test.

I don't believe a word that clown says. He claims to be the smartest man on Earth yet is unable to accomplish ANYTHING in his life. He runs some joke of a cult similar to Stefan Molyneux and that is the end of his accomplishments.

He is a fraud. Just like that chick that claimed to have 225 IQ which was debunked long ago.
:clap:

@Userr is also contradicting himself hard with this, since he's recently been defending the idea that iq is an extremely accurate predictor of someone's success in life. but I guess that doesn't apply to this scamming truck driver :giggle:
 

Edicts Fiori Gilt

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His only "evidence" for his IQ being 200 is a test he took from a society he himself founded:
This was originally going to be a short post, but I have too much to say.

On a factual point.
On a factual point. I'm not taking sides here lord knows I don't care one way or the other. But, on a factual point he was not the founder of the mega society. Robert Hoeflin founded the mega society in the early 80s. Chris came in later to work as head writer and editor of their monthly journal.

Link to digital copies of the journals here : https://megasociety.org/#noesis

About Chris and his involvement in the society.
They actually make for interesting reading, and are often humours. Chris stepped down as a writer for the journal citing other priorities as the reason. I think he left because he couldn't take the barrage of criticism and counter arguments levelled at his CTMU (some nonsense theory, only he understands) by other members. I don't want to go into too much detail but if you are a mega society member then you can submit a column to the journal, and so many do. Of course most (almost all) of the members have the same inflated egos and grandiose writing style as Chris. This makes for a very interesting back and forth amongst members. It is also hilarious, as everyone's chief aim is to prove that they are really very intelligent.

Why Chris isn't a fraud but isn't the smartest man alive either.
Chris isn't a fraud, in that he doesn't pretend to be something he isn't. He does have a perfect score on the titan test (upon taking it a second time, lol) which according to Robert means he has an IQ north of 195. This would make him the smartest person on earth. So the problem is not with Chris, it's with the test. The test is very difficult and you do need to be very intelligent to achieve a score of over 30 out of 40. But, you have an unlimited amount of time to complete the test, at home or wherever. So, it isn't under controlled conditions. What's more - intelligence is, and this is my definition here : the ability to solve problems. The faster and more complicated problems you can solve, the smarter you are. Having an unlimited amount of time to complete the test is troublesome. Also, you can complete the test, submit it, get a score back. Complete the same test and resubmit. It's a joke really. If you have an IQ of 130ish you can get a perfect score on the titan test.

So, Chris is smart but not earth shatteringly so.

I could go on and on and on, but I doubt anyone would read (why would they). If you have any questions just ask. I know all this first hand, I was fascinated by puzzles and IQ tests when I was younger. As such, I quickly found my way to the mega society. I've completed the mega, titan and probably every other IQ test that Robert and others have made. It's a lot of fun.
 
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Edicts Fiori Gilt

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:clap:

@Userr is also contradicting himself hard with this, since he's recently been defending the idea that iq is an extremely accurate predictor of someone's success in life. but I guess that doesn't apply to this scamming truck driver :giggle:
Refer to my above post, IQ is a great predictor of success in life. Actually it's by far the best, the problem is with the test.
 
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