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The Man from the Future: The Visionary Life of John von Neumann

The Man from the Future: The Visionary Life of John von Neumann cover

The Man from the Future: The Visionary Life of John von Neumann

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An electrifying biography of one of the most extraordinary scientists of the twentieth century and the world he made. 

The smartphones in our pockets and computers like brains. The vagaries of game theory and evolutionary biology. Nuclear weapons and self-replicating spacecrafts. All bear the fingerprints of one remarkable, yet largely overlooked, man: John von Neumann.

Born in Budapest at the turn of the century, von Neumann is one of the most influential scientists to have ever lived. A child prodigy, he mastered calculus by the age of eight, and in high school made lasting contributions to mathematics. In Germany, where he helped lay the foundations of quantum mechanics, and later at Princeton, von Neumann’s colleagues believed he had the fastest brain on the planet—bar none. He was instrumental in the Manhattan Project and the design of the atom bomb; he helped formulate the bedrock of Cold War geopolitics and modern economic theory; he created the first ever programmable digital computer; he prophesized the potential of nanotechnology; and, from his deathbed, he expounded on the limits of brains and computers—and how they might be overcome.

Taking us on an astonishing journey, Ananyo Bhattacharya explores how a combination of genius and unique historical circumstance allowed a single man to sweep through a stunningly diverse array of fields, sparking revolutions wherever he went. The Man from the Future is an insightful and thrilling intellectual biography of the visionary thinker who shaped our century.

Ananyo Bhattacharya, who holds a PhD in biophysics from Imperial College London, has worked as a science correspondent at the Economist, an editor at Nature, and a medical researcher at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in San Diego, California. He lives in London.

ISBN: 9781324003991

ISBN-10: 9781324003991

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

Publication Date: 02/22/2022 - 12:00am

On Sale: 02/22/2022 - 12:00am

Pages: 368

Language: English

Categories

Biography & Autobiography / Science & Technology

Mathematics / History & Philosophy

Science / History

Technology & Engineering / History