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John von Neumann: Selected Letters
Edited by: Miklós Rédei, Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest, Hungary
A co-publication of the AMS and the London Mathematical Society.

History of Mathematics
2005; 301 pp; hardcover
Volume: 27
ISBN-10: 0-8218-3776-1
ISBN-13: 978-0-8218-3776-4
List Price: US$69
Member Price: US$55.20
Order Code: HMATH/27
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John von Neumann was perhaps the most influential mathematician of the twentieth century. Not only did he contribute to almost all branches of mathematics, he created new fields and was a pioneering influence in the development of computer science.

During and after World War II, he was a much sought-after technical advisor. He served as a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee at the Ballistic Research Laboratories, the Navy Bureau of Ordinance, and the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project. He was a consultant to the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory and was appointed by U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower to the Atomic Energy Commission. He received the Albert Einstein Commemorative Award, the Enrico Fermi Award, and the Medal of Freedom.

This collection of about 150 of von Neumann's letters to colleagues, friends, government officials, and others illustrates both his brilliance and his strong sense of responsibility. It is the first substantial collection of his letters, giving a rare inside glimpse of his thinking on mathematics, physics, computer science, science management, education, consulting, politics, and war. With an introductory chapter describing the many aspects of von Neumann's scientific, political, and social activities, this book makes great reading. Readers of quite diverse backgrounds will be fascinated by this first-hand look at one of the towering figures of twentieth century science.

To read a review published in the Notices of the American Mathematical Society, click here.

Also of interest and available from the AMS is John von Neumann: The Scientific Genius Who Pioneered the Modern Computer, Game Theory, Nuclear Deterrence, and Much More and Invariant Measures.


General audience; readers of diverse backgrounds.


"This selection of letters by the great mathematician John von Neumann (1903-1957) has been edited with remarkable care and expertise. Nearly all of his letters are published here for the first time. ....The extensive introductory comments by the editor (pp. 1-40) furnish important background information that will prove itself useful, especially for those readers who cannot rely on a thorough knowledge of von Neumann's seminal contributions to the foundations of mathematics, mathematical logic, quantum mechanics, quantum logic, computer science, and game theory."

-- Mathematics and Mechanics

"...this fine volume of selected letters will be of great interest to mathematicians, scientists, educators, and, in particular, those interested in the history of the fields to which John von Neumann contributed so much."

-- Historia Mathematica

"...this will be an enduring reference book ...delivers an impressive sampling of the breadth and influence of von Neumann's work."

-- Notices of the American Mathematical Society

"I recommend that you check out a copy of the book yourself. These letters are put together in a very nice volume, and give quite a bit of insight into one of the great mathematical minds of all time ..."

-- MAA Reviews

"...the volume under review will certainly contribute to our knowledge about John von Neumann and his personality. It will be interesting for historians of science, especially of mathematics and mathematical physics."

-- Zentrablatt MATH

Table of Contents

  • Introductory comments
  • Letter to N. Aronszajn
  • Letters to F. Aydelotte
  • Letter to E.F. Beckenbach
  • Letter to H. Bethe
  • Letters to G. Birkhoff
  • Letter to W.J.E. Blaschke
  • Letter to R.S. Burington
  • Letters to V. Bush
  • Letter to R. Carnap
  • Letter to W. Cattell
  • Letter to T.M. Cherry
  • Letter to H. Cirker
  • Letter to H. Crocker
  • Letter to M.R. Davie
  • Letter to W.E. Deming
  • Letter to J.L. Destouches
  • Letter to P.A.M. Dirac
  • Letters to J. Dixmier
  • Letter to P.A. Dodd
  • Letter to W.M. DuMond
  • Letter to R.E. Duncan
  • Letter to editor of Evening Star
  • Letter to R. Farquharson
  • Letter to A. Flexner
  • Letter to R.O. Fornaguera
  • Letter to N.H. Goldsmith
  • Letter to W.H. Gottschalk (and Hans Rademacher)
  • Letters to K. Gödel
  • Letter to G. Haberler
  • Letters to I. Halperin
  • Letter to G.B. Harrison
  • Letter to M. de Horvath
  • Letter to A.S. Householder
  • Letters to C.C. Hurd
  • Letter to K. Husimi
  • Letters to P. Jordan
  • Letters to I. Kaplansky
  • Letter to C.E. Kemble
  • Letter to J.R. Killian
  • Letters to H.D. Kloosterman
  • Letter to H. Kuhn
  • Letter to J. Lederberg
  • Letter to W.E. Lingelbach
  • Letter to S. MacLane
  • Letter to J.C.C. McKinsey
  • Letter to M.M. Mitchell
  • Letter to T.V. Moore
  • Letter to O. Morgenstern
  • Letters to M. Morse
  • Letter to E. Nagel
  • Letter to J.R. Oppenheimer
  • Letters to R. Ortvay
  • Letter to W. Overbeck
  • Letter to H.H. Rankin
  • Letter to H.P. Robertson
  • Letter to E. Schrödinger
  • Letter to E. Segre
  • Letters to F.B. Silsbee
  • Letter to L. Spitzer
  • Letters to M. Stone
  • Letters to L.L. Strauss
  • Letter to J. Stroux
  • Letter to T. Tannaka
  • Letter to E. Teller
  • Letters to L.B. Tuckerman
  • Letters to S. Ulam
  • Letter to E.R. van Kampen
  • Letters to O. Veblen
  • Letters to N. Wiener
  • Letter to H. Wold
  • Notes on addresses of von Neumann's letters
  • Bibliography
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