December 30, 2011

Gödel's secret theorem



It was only months before his complete mental breakdown and subsequent death that the great Austrian-born mathematical logician Kurt Gödel discovered the proof of his last theorem which revealed to him a shocking crack in the foundations of mathematics.  After surveying the rather short proof he had written on the blackboard in his office at the Institute for Advanced Study, Gödel knew at once that his discovery, if made public, would cause immediate and permanent collapse of the world's banking system and financial markets, thus ending civilization as we know it.  He sat for several hours in the chair next to the blackboard, frozen with fear, his vacant gaze fixed on the empty space before him.  At long last he stood up, erased the proof, and went home a broken man, determined to take his terrifying secret with him to the grave.

Unbeknownst to Gödel every office at the Institute had a hidden security camera designed to take snapshots of the office blackboard at regular time intervals.  Somehow a copy of the security camera photograph showing  Gödel's blackboard with his proof still written on it - the photograph still classified "Top Secret" by the U.S. government - had found its way into the hands of the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Today that photograph was made public:



4 comments:

laybl said...

The best commentary was Einstein's photo, gleefully sticking out his tongue.

RonanM said...

Shouldn't that be 'gefuckd' or ganz ein Gefunkiß'?

Boom said...

Blogger RonanM said...

Shouldn't that be 'gefuckd' or ganz ein Gefunkiß'?
*********
Ronan,
You probably have in mind David Hilbert, who (I'm sure) must have muttered "Wir sind gefickt" when in 1930 his then assistant von Neumann reported from the symposium at which Goedel announced his incompleteness theorems.
As for Goedel, I am sure that after 30+ years of living in America, he (like many immigrants) occasionally slipped from Deutch into Deutschglish, especially when under great stress...

Baal said...

Schindmährähnlich !

,he said