# John von Neumann, 1903 - 1957

Born: 28 December 1903, Budapest, Austria-Hungary

Died: 8 January 1957, Washington City

Biography from Wikipedia

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### John von Neumann quotes:

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- A large part of mathematics which becomes useful developed with absolutely no desire to be useful, and in a situation where nobody could possibly know in what area it would become useful; and there were no general indications that it ever would be so.
*permalink*"The Role of Mathematics in the Sciences and in Society" (1954)

- Anyone who considers arithmetical methods of producing random digits is, of course, in a state of sin.
*permalink*"Various techniques used in connection with random digits" in

*Monte Carlo Method*(1951) - I think that it is a relatively good approximation to truth — which is much too complicated to allow anything but approximations — that mathematical ideas originate in empirics.
*permalink*"The Mathematician" in

*The Works of the Mind*(1947) - If one has really technically penetrated a subject, things that previously seemed in complete contrast, might be purely mathematical transformations of each other.
*permalink* - It is exceptional that one should be able to acquire the understanding of a process without having previously acquired a deep familiarity with running it, with using it, before one has assimilated it in an instinctive and empirical way.... Thus any discussion of the nature of intellectual effort in any field is difficult, unless it presupposes an easy, routine familiarity with that field. In mathematics this limitation becomes very severe.
*permalink* - You don't have to be responsible for the world that you're in.
*permalink*to Richard Feynman

- You should call it entropy, for two reasons. In the first place your uncertainty function has been used in statistical mechanics under that name, so it already has a name. In the second place, and more important, no one really knows what entropy really is, so in a debate you will always have the advantage.
*permalink* - You wake me up early in the morning to tell me I am right? Please wait until I am wrong.
*permalink* - Young man, in mathematics you don't understand things. You just get used to them.
*permalink*

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