Panels examine von Neumann's work, Oct. 5-6
Posted September 26, 2007; 06:30 p.m.
The work and legacy of famed mathematician John von Neumann will be explored in two panel discussions featuring his daughter and Nobel laureate economist Thomas Schelling on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 5-6.
Von Neumann's influence on mathematics and computer science, his involvement in the development of game theory and his work in nuclear physics as a member of the Manhattan Project made him one of the most important figures in the fields of mathematics and science. The Hungarian-born von Neumann was a Princeton faculty member in the early 1930s, and in 1933, with Albert Einstein, became one of the original six mathematics professors at the Institute for Advanced Study.
Von Neumann's early life will be the subject of a panel discussion titled "Budapest: The Golden Years" at 3 p.m. Oct. 5 in Dodds Auditorium, Robertson Hall. His daughter Marina von Neumann Whitman, a professor of business administration and public policy at the University of Michigan, will be among the panelists. Others are: Peter Lax, a professor of mathematics at New York University; Laszlo Lovász, the director of the Institute of Mathematics at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest; Ronald Graham, a professor of computer science and engineering at the University of California-San Diego; and Vera Sos, a mathematician at the Alfred Renyi Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
At 8 p.m. Oct. 6 in McCosh 50, a panel of scholars will discuss "Living in von Neumann's World: Scientific Creativity, Technology Advancement and Civilization's Accelerating Dilemma of Power." Speakers will include Schelling, an economist from the University of Maryland-College Park who received the 2005 Nobel Prize for his work in enhancing understanding of conflict and cooperation through game theory analysis. Other panelists will include Freeman Dyson, professor emeritus of physics at the Institute for Advanced Study; his son George Dyson, a historian of science; Martin Nowak, the director of the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics at Harvard University; and Robert Wright, a visiting fellow at Princeton's University Center for Human Values.
The events are sponsored by the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies and the John Templeton Foundation.