David Hilbert, 1862 - 1943, was German, and is considered one of the greatest mathematicians ever, leaving a broad legacy in mathematics, physics and philosophy.
Invariant theory, axiomatization of geometry, Hilbert spaces, functional analysis, applications to Physics, philosophy
Lobachevsky Prize, 1903
Bolyai Prize, 1910
Foreign Member of the Royal Society
Senior lecturer, University of Königsberg, 1886 - 1895.
Professor of Mathematics, University of Göttingen, which in his time became the leading mathematics institution of the world. Many of his 69 doctorate students became famous in their turn, including his assistant John Von Neumann, Hermann Weyl and Otto Blumenthal.
Editor of Mathematische Annalen, 1902 - 1939, a high-profile journal.
Grundlagen der Geometrie, 1899, in which Hilbert proposes his formal set (aka Hilbert's axioms) to replace Euclid's axioms.
A list of 23 unsolved problems at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Paris, 1900. This list had a great impact and influence on mathematical thinking in the 20th century, and some continue to intrigue and puzzle.
Principles of Mathematical Logic, 1928, co-authored with Wilhelm Ackermann.
Grundlagen der Mathematik, two volumes (1934 and 1939), co-authored with Paul Bernays.
The Foundations of Physics, 1915, an axiomatic derivation of he field equations of General Relativity.
Hilbert's basis theorem
Hilbert's problem set was instrumental in the establishment and development of the formalist school.
He developed important tools, and was instrumental in developing the field of mathematical physics. He was a founder of proof theory, mathematical logic, and metamathematics.
Although primarily known as a mathematician, Hilbert made significant contributions to physics. There is evidence that Hilbert produced a General Relativity theory of his own, and influenced Albert Einstein greatly. Hilbert graciously made no claim to the theory. Hilbert also made contributions to quantum mechanics, and influenced Weyl and von Neumann in their work on Heisenberg's matrix mechanics, and Schrödinger's wave equation. Hilbert space
(Biographies of famous scientists no. 87)
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James Watson, born 1928, is an American molecular biologist, who is credited, along with Francis Crick, with discovering the form of the DNA molecule, for which he shared the Nobel Prize.
It is wrong to think that the task of physics is to find out how nature is. Physics concerns what we can say about nature.
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