We are continuing our series on overshadowed geniuses who made incredible discoveries that moved civilization forward. Today we focus on John von Neumann and his contributions to computer science.
When we think of modern computers, names like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, or even Tim Berners-Lee come to mind. But have you heard of John von Neumann, one of the greatest geniuses of the 20th century?
As I sat at my computer, marveling at its ability to do so much, I wondered how it came into existence. My curious mind led me to learn about John von Neumann and his contributions to computer science. A Hungarian-American mathematician and physicist, he made significant contributions to various fields, including quantum mechanics and game theory. But he is best known for his work on the modern computer. His development of the "stored-program" architecture allowed for the creation of more flexible and powerful computers and is still in use Today. His work in game theory also significantly impacted economics and other fields, and his book "Theory of Games and Economic Behavior" is still considered a classic.
Despite facing discrimination in early 20th-century Europe, von Neumann remained dedicated to his work. He struggled with personal issues, including depression and anxiety, but his contributions to mathematics, physics, and computer science are undeniable. His legacy lives on in these fields and helped build the foundations for Big Tech.
John von Neumann thinks everything is possible and his belief in the power of technology and the human mind remains inspiring even to this day. He said, "You insist that there is something a machine cannot do; if you will tell me precisely what it is that a machine cannot do, then I can always make a machine that will do just that."
We would love to hear about your favorite “unsung” hero that moved our civilization forward.
Don't miss the rest of our series on overshadowed geniuses who have made incredible discoveries that have advanced civilization. Check out the first post in the series here: bit.ly/3Wph3vX