14. John von Neumann and Robert Oppenheimer


Many early developments in the field of computer science were made by people associated with Princeton, in particular the mathematician, University professor, and Institute for Advanced Study scholar John von Neumann, pictured here (on the right) in front of an early computer with Robert Oppenheimer, the Institute’s director. Von Neumann’s work in mathematics and theoretical physics allowed him to explore applications of nuclear energy and gave him a major role among the Los Alamos scientists who developed the atomic bomb under Oppenheimer’s direction. Von Neumann also developed the computer that enabled the U.S. to develop and test the first hydrogen bomb. Princeton awarded both of these men honorary degrees—von Neumann in 1947, and Oppenheimer in 1966.
