David Hilbert

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David Hilbert (; ; 23 January 1862 – 14 February 1943) was a
German mathematician This is a List of German mathematicians. A * Ilka Agricola * Rudolf Ahlswede * Wilhelm Ahrens * Oskar Anderson * Karl Apfelbacher * Philipp Apian * Petrus Apianus * Michael Artin * Günter Asser * Bruno Augenstein * Georg Aumann B ...
, one of the most influential mathematicians of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Hilbert discovered and developed a broad range of fundamental ideas in many areas, including
invariant theory Invariant theory is a branch of abstract algebra dealing with actions of groups on algebraic varieties, such as vector spaces, from the point of view of their effect on functions. Classically, the theory dealt with the question of explicit descri ...
, the calculus of variations,
commutative algebra Commutative algebra, first known as ideal theory, is the branch of algebra that studies commutative rings, their ideals, and modules over such rings. Both algebraic geometry and algebraic number theory build on commutative algebra. Prom ...
,
algebraic number theory Algebraic number theory is a branch of number theory that uses the techniques of abstract algebra to study the integers, rational numbers, and their generalizations. Number-theoretic questions are expressed in terms of properties of algebraic ob ...
, the
foundations of geometry Foundations of geometry is the study of geometries as axiomatic systems. There are several sets of axioms which give rise to Euclidean geometry or to non-Euclidean geometries. These are fundamental to the study and of historical importance, but ...
,
spectral theory In mathematics, spectral theory is an inclusive term for theories extending the eigenvector and eigenvalue theory of a single square matrix to a much broader theory of the structure of operators in a variety of mathematical spaces. It is a result ...
of operators and its application to
integral equations In mathematics, integral equations are equations in which an unknown function appears under an integral sign. In mathematical notation, integral equations may thus be expressed as being of the form: f(x_1,x_2,x_3,...,x_n ; u(x_1,x_2,x_3,...,x_n) ...
,
mathematical physics Mathematical physics refers to the development of mathematics, mathematical methods for application to problems in physics. The ''Journal of Mathematical Physics'' defines the field as "the application of mathematics to problems in physics and t ...
, and the
foundations of mathematics Foundations of mathematics is the study of the philosophy, philosophical and logical and/or algorithmic basis of mathematics, or, in a broader sense, the mathematical investigation of what underlies the philosophical theories concerning the natu ...
(particularly
proof theory Proof theory is a major branchAccording to Wang (1981), pp. 3–4, proof theory is one of four domains mathematical logic, together with model theory, axiomatic set theory, and recursion theory. Jon Barwise, Barwise (1978) consists of four correspo ...
Georg Cantor Georg Ferdinand Ludwig Philipp Cantor ( , ;  – January 6, 1918) was a German mathematician. He played a pivotal role in the creation of set theory, which has become a fundamental theory in mathematics. Cantor established the importance of ...
's set theory and
transfinite number In mathematics, transfinite numbers are numbers that are "infinite" in the sense that they are larger than all finite numbers, yet not necessarily absolutely infinite. These include the transfinite cardinals, which are cardinal numbers used to qua ...
s. In 1900, he presented a collection of problems that set the course for much of the mathematical research of the 20th century. Hilbert and his students contributed significantly to establishing rigor and developed important tools used in modern mathematical physics. Hilbert is known as one of the founders of proof theory and
mathematical logic Mathematical logic is the study of logic, formal logic within mathematics. Major subareas include model theory, proof theory, set theory, and recursion theory. Research in mathematical logic commonly addresses the mathematical properties of for ...
.

# Life

## Early life and education

Hilbert, the first of two children and only son of Otto and Maria Therese (Erdtmann) Hilbert, was born in the
Province of Prussia The Province of Prussia (; ; pl, Prowincja Prusy; csb, Prowincjô Prësë) was a province of Prussia from 1829 to 1878. Prussia was established as a province of the Kingdom of Prussia in 1829 from the provinces of East Prussia and West Prussia ...
,
Kingdom of Prussia The Kingdom of Prussia (german: Königreich Preußen, ) was a German kingdom that constituted the state of Prussia between 1701 and 1918.Marriott, J. A. R., and Charles Grant Robertson. ''The Evolution of Prussia, the Making of an Empire''. Re ...
, either in
Königsberg Königsberg (, ) was the historic Prussian city that is now Kaliningrad, Russia. Königsberg was founded in 1255 on the site of the ancient Old Prussian settlement ''Twangste'' by the Teutonic Knights during the Northern Crusades, and was named ...
(according to Hilbert's own statement) or in Wehlau (known since 1946 as
Znamensk Znamensk (russian: Знаменск) is the name of several inhabited localities in Russia. ;Urban localities * Znamensk, Astrakhan Oblast, a closed town in Astrakhan Oblast ;Rural localities *Znamensk, Kaliningrad Oblast, a settlement in Znamen ...
) near Königsberg where his father worked at the time of his birth. In late 1872, Hilbert entered the Friedrichskolleg Gymnasium (''Collegium fridericianum'', the same school that
Immanuel Kant Immanuel Kant (, , ; 22 April 1724 – 12 February 1804) was a German philosopher and one of the central Enlightenment thinkers. Born in Königsberg, Kant's comprehensive and systematic works in epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, and ...
had attended 140 years before); but, after an unhappy period, he transferred to (late 1879) and graduated from (early 1880) the more science-oriented Wilhelm Gymnasium. Upon graduation, in autumn 1880, Hilbert enrolled at the
University of Königsberg The University of Königsberg (german: Albertus-Universität Königsberg) was the university of Königsberg in East Prussia. It was founded in 1544 as the world's second Protestant academy (after the University of Marburg) by Duke Albert of Prussi ...
, the "Albertina". In early 1882,
Hermann Minkowski Hermann Minkowski (; ; 22 June 1864 – 12 January 1909) was a German mathematician and professor at Königsberg, Zürich and Göttingen. He created and developed the geometry of numbers and used geometrical methods to solve problems in number t ...
(two years younger than Hilbert and also a native of Königsberg but had gone to Berlin for three semesters), returned to Königsberg and entered the university. Hilbert developed a lifelong friendship with the shy, gifted Minkowski.

## Career

In 1884, Adolf Hurwitz arrived from Göttingen as an
Extraordinarius ''Extraordinarius'' is a genus of South American huntsman spiders. It was first described by C. A. Rheims in 2019, and it has only been found in Brazil. Species it contains four species: *'' E. andrematosi'' Rheims, 2019 ( type) – Brazil *'' ...
(i.e., an associate professor). An intense and fruitful scientific exchange among the three began, and Minkowski and Hilbert especially would exercise a reciprocal influence over each other at various times in their scientific careers. Hilbert obtained his doctorate in 1885, with a dissertation, written under
Ferdinand von Lindemann Carl Louis Ferdinand von Lindemann (12 April 1852 – 6 March 1939) was a German mathematician, noted for his proof, published in 1882, that (pi) is a transcendental number, meaning it is not a root of any polynomial with rational coefficien ...
, titled ''Über invariante Eigenschaften spezieller binärer Formen, insbesondere der Kugelfunktionen'' ("On the invariant properties of special binary forms, in particular the spherical harmonic functions"). Hilbert remained at the University of Königsberg as a ''Privatdozent'' (
senior lecturer Senior lecturer is an academic rank. In the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, Switzerland, and Israel senior lecturer is a faculty position at a university or similar institution. The position is tenured (in systems with this concep ...
) from 1886 to 1895. In 1895, as a result of intervention on his behalf by
Felix Klein Christian Felix Klein (; 25 April 1849 – 22 June 1925) was a German mathematician and mathematics educator, known for his work with group theory, complex analysis, non-Euclidean geometry, and on the associations between geometry and grou ...
, he obtained the position of Professor of Mathematics at the
University of Göttingen The University of Göttingen, officially the Georg August University of Göttingen, (german: Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, known informally as Georgia Augusta) is a public research university in the city of Göttingen, Germany. Founded ...
. During the Klein and Hilbert years, Göttingen became the preeminent institution in the mathematical world. He remained there for the rest of his life.

## Göttingen school

Among Hilbert's students were
Hermann Weyl Hermann Klaus Hugo Weyl, (; 9 November 1885 – 8 December 1955) was a German mathematician, theoretical physicist and philosopher. Although much of his working life was spent in Zürich, Switzerland, and then Princeton, New Jersey, he is assoc ...
,
chess Chess is a board game for two players, called White and Black, each controlling an army of chess pieces in their color, with the objective to checkmate the opponent's king. It is sometimes called international chess or Western chess to disti ...
champion
Emanuel Lasker Emanuel Lasker (; December 24, 1868 – January 11, 1941) was a German chess player, mathematician, and philosopher who was World Chess Champion for 27 years, from 1894 to 1921, the longest reign of any officially recognised World Chess Champ ...
,
Ernst Zermelo Ernst Friedrich Ferdinand Zermelo (, ; 27 July 187121 May 1953) was a German logician and mathematician, whose work has major implications for the foundations of mathematics. He is known for his role in developing Zermelo–Fraenkel axiomatic se ...
, and
Carl Gustav Hempel Carl Gustav "Peter" Hempel (January 8, 1905 – November 9, 1997) was a German writer, philosopher, logician, and epistemologist. He was a major figure in logical empiricism, a 20th-century movement in the philosophy of science. He is espec ...
.
John von Neumann John von Neumann (; hu, Neumann János Lajos, ; December 28, 1903 – February 8, 1957) was a Hungarian-American mathematician, physicist, computer scientist, engineer and polymath. He was regarded as having perhaps the widest cove ...
was his assistant. At the University of Göttingen, Hilbert was surrounded by a social circle of some of the most important mathematicians of the 20th century, such as
Emmy Noether Amalie Emmy NoetherEmmy is the '' Rufname'', the second of two official given names, intended for daily use. Cf. for example the résumé submitted by Noether to Erlangen University in 1907 (Erlangen University archive, ''Promotionsakt Emmy Noeth ...
and
Alonzo Church Alonzo Church (June 14, 1903 – August 11, 1995) was an American mathematician, computer scientist, logician, philosopher, professor and editor who made major contributions to mathematical logic and the foundations of theoretical computer scien ...
. Among his 69 Ph.D. students in Göttingen were many who later became famous mathematicians, including (with date of thesis):
Otto Blumenthal Ludwig Otto Blumenthal (20 July 1876 – 12 November 1944) was a German mathematician and professor at RWTH Aachen University. Biography He was born in Frankfurt, Hesse-Nassau. A student of David Hilbert, Blumenthal was an editor of '' Mathema ...
(1898), Felix Bernstein (1901),
Hermann Weyl Hermann Klaus Hugo Weyl, (; 9 November 1885 – 8 December 1955) was a German mathematician, theoretical physicist and philosopher. Although much of his working life was spent in Zürich, Switzerland, and then Princeton, New Jersey, he is assoc ...
(1908),
Richard Courant Richard Courant (January 8, 1888 – January 27, 1972) was a German American mathematician. He is best known by the general public for the book '' What is Mathematics?'', co-written with Herbert Robbins. His research focused on the areas of real ...
(1910),
Erich Hecke Erich Hecke (20 September 1887 – 13 February 1947) was a German mathematician known for his work in number theory and the theory of modular forms. Biography Hecke was born in Buk, Province of Posen, German Empire (now Poznań, Poland). He o ...
(1910),
Hugo Steinhaus Hugo Dyonizy Steinhaus ( ; ; January 14, 1887 – February 25, 1972) was a Polish mathematician and educator. Steinhaus obtained his PhD under David Hilbert at Göttingen University in 1911 and later became a professor at the Jan Kazimierz Un ...
(1911), and
Wilhelm Ackermann Wilhelm Friedrich Ackermann (; ; 29 March 1896 – 24 December 1962) was a German mathematician and logician best known for his work in mathematical logic and the Ackermann function, an important example in the theory of computation. Biography ...
(1925). Between 1902 and 1939 Hilbert was editor of the ''
Mathematische Annalen ''Mathematische Annalen'' (abbreviated as ''Math. Ann.'' or, formerly, ''Math. Annal.'') is a German mathematical research journal founded in 1868 by Alfred Clebsch and Carl Neumann. Subsequent managing editors were Felix Klein, David Hilbert, ...
'', the leading mathematical journal of the time.

## Personal life

In 1892, Hilbert married Käthe Jerosch (1864–1945), who was the daughter of a Königsberg merchant, an outspoken young lady with an independence of mind that matched ilbert's" While at Königsberg they had their one child, (1893–1969). Franz suffered throughout his life from an undiagnosed mental illness. His inferior intellect was a terrible disappointment to his father and this misfortune was a matter of distress to the mathematicians and students at Göttingen. Hilbert considered the mathematician
Hermann Minkowski Hermann Minkowski (; ; 22 June 1864 – 12 January 1909) was a German mathematician and professor at Königsberg, Zürich and Göttingen. He created and developed the geometry of numbers and used geometrical methods to solve problems in number t ...
to be his "best and truest friend". Hilbert was baptized and raised a
Calvinist Calvinism (also called the Reformed Tradition, Reformed Protestantism, Reformed Christianity, or simply Reformed) is a major branch of Protestantism that follows the theological tradition and forms of Christian practice set down by John Ca ...
in the Prussian Evangelical Church.The Hilberts had, by this time, left the Calvinist Protestant church in which they had been baptized and married. – Reid 1996, p.91 He later left the Church and became an agnostic. David Hilbert seemed to be agnostic and had nothing to do with theology proper or even religion. Constance Reid tells a story on the subject:
The Hilberts had by this time round 1902left the Reformed Protestant Church in which they had been baptized and married. It was told in Göttingen that when avid Hilbert's sonFranz had started to school he could not answer the question, "What religion are you?" (1970, p. 91)
In the 1927 Hamburg address, Hilbert asserted: "mathematics is pre-suppositionless science (die Mathematik ist eine voraussetzungslose Wissenschaft)" and "to found it I do not need a good God ( ihrer Begründung brauche ich weder den lieben Gott)" (1928, S. 85; van Heijenoort, 1967, p. 479). However, from Mathematische Probleme (1900) to Naturerkennen und Logik (1930) he placed his quasi-religious faith in the human spirit and in the power of pure thought with its beloved child– mathematics. He was deeply convinced that every mathematical problem could be solved by pure reason: in both mathematics and any part of natural science (through mathematics) there was "no ignorabimus" (Hilbert, 1900, S. 262; 1930, S. 963; Ewald, 1996, pp. 1102, 1165). That is why finding an inner absolute grounding for mathematics turned into Hilbert's life-work. He never gave up this position, and it is symbolic that his words "wir müssen wissen, wir werden wissen" ("we must know, we shall know") from his 1930 Königsberg address were engraved on his tombstone. Here, we meet a ghost of departed theology (to modify George Berkeley's words), for to absolutize human cognition means to identify it tacitly with a divine one. —
He also argued that mathematical truth was independent of the existence of God or other ''
a priori ("from the earlier") and ("from the later") are Latin phrases used in philosophy to distinguish types of knowledge, justification, or argument by their reliance on empirical evidence or experience. knowledge is independent from current ...
'' assumptions."Mathematics is a presuppositionless science. To found it I do not need God, as does Kronecker, or the assumption of a special faculty of our understanding attuned to the principle of mathematical induction, as does Poincaré, or the primal intuition of Brouwer, or, finally, as do Russell and Whitehead, axioms of infinity, reducibility, or completeness, which in fact are actual, contentual assumptions that cannot be compensated for by consistency proofs." David Hilbert, ''Die Grundlagen der Mathematik''
Hilbert's program, 22C:096, University of Iowa
When
Galileo Galilei Galileo di Vincenzo Bonaiuti de' Galilei (15 February 1564 – 8 January 1642) was an Italian astronomer, physicist and engineer, sometimes described as a polymath. Commonly referred to as Galileo, his name was pronounced (, ). He was ...
was criticized for failing to stand up for his convictions on the
Heliocentric theory Heliocentrism (also known as the Heliocentric model) is the astronomical model in which the Earth and planets revolve around the Sun at the center of the universe. Historically, heliocentrism was opposed to geocentrism, which placed the Earth a ...
, Hilbert objected: "But alileowas not an idiot. Only an idiot could believe that scientific truth needs martyrdom; that may be necessary in religion, but scientific results prove themselves in due time."

## Later years

Like
Albert Einstein Albert Einstein ( ; ; 14 March 1879 – 18 April 1955) was a German-born theoretical physicist, widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest and most influential physicists of all time. Einstein is best known for developing the theory ...
, Hilbert had closest contacts with the Berlin Group whose leading founders had studied under Hilbert in Göttingen (
Kurt Grelling Kurt Grelling (2 March 1886 – September 1942) was a German logician and philosopher, member of the Berlin Circle. Life and work Kurt Grelling was born on 2 March 1886 in Berlin. His father, the Doctor of Jurisprudence Richard Grelling, ...
, Hans Reichenbach and Walter Dubislav). Around 1925, Hilbert developed
pernicious anemia Pernicious anemia is a type of vitamin B12 deficiency anemia, a disease in which not enough red blood cells are produced due to the malabsorption of vitamin B12. Malabsorption in pernicious anemia results from the lack or loss of intrinsic fa ...
, a then-untreatable vitamin deficiency whose primary symptom is exhaustion; his assistant
Eugene Wigner Eugene Paul "E. P." Wigner ( hu, Wigner Jenő Pál, ; November 17, 1902 – January 1, 1995) was a Hungarian-American theoretical physicist who also contributed to mathematical physics. He received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963 "for his co ...
described him as subject to "enormous fatigue" and how he "seemed quite old," and that even after eventually being diagnosed and treated, he "was hardly a scientist after 1925, and certainly not a Hilbert." Hilbert lived to see the Nazis purge many of the prominent faculty members at
University of Göttingen The University of Göttingen, officially the Georg August University of Göttingen, (german: Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, known informally as Georgia Augusta) is a public research university in the city of Göttingen, Germany. Founded ...
in 1933. Those forced out included
Hermann Weyl Hermann Klaus Hugo Weyl, (; 9 November 1885 – 8 December 1955) was a German mathematician, theoretical physicist and philosopher. Although much of his working life was spent in Zürich, Switzerland, and then Princeton, New Jersey, he is assoc ...
(who had taken Hilbert's chair when he retired in 1930),
Emmy Noether Amalie Emmy NoetherEmmy is the '' Rufname'', the second of two official given names, intended for daily use. Cf. for example the résumé submitted by Noether to Erlangen University in 1907 (Erlangen University archive, ''Promotionsakt Emmy Noeth ...
and
Edmund Landau Edmund Georg Hermann Landau (14 February 1877 – 19 February 1938) was a German mathematician who worked in the fields of number theory and complex analysis. Biography Edmund Landau was born to a Jewish family in Berlin. His father was Leopold ...
. One who had to leave Germany,
Paul Bernays Paul Isaac Bernays (17 October 1888 – 18 September 1977) was a Swiss mathematician who made significant contributions to mathematical logic, axiomatic set theory, and the philosophy of mathematics. He was an assistant and close collaborator of ...
, had collaborated with Hilbert in mathematical logic, and co-authored with him the important book ''
Grundlagen der Mathematik ''Grundlagen der Mathematik'' (English: ''Foundations of Mathematics'') is a two-volume work by David Hilbert and Paul Bernays. Originally published in 1934 and 1939, it presents fundamental mathematical ideas and introduced second-order arithme ...
'' (which eventually appeared in two volumes, in 1934 and 1939). This was a sequel to the Hilbert– Ackermann book '' Principles of Mathematical Logic'' from 1928. Hermann Weyl's successor was Helmut Hasse. About a year later, Hilbert attended a banquet and was seated next to the new Minister of Education,
Bernhard Rust Bernhard Rust (30 September 1883 – 8 May 1945) was Minister of Science, Education and National Culture ( Reichserziehungsminister) in Nazi Germany.Claudia Koonz, ''The Nazi Conscience'', p 134 A combination of school administrator and zealou ...
. Rust asked whether "the Mathematical Institute really suffered so much because of the departure of the Jews." Hilbert replied, "Suffered? It doesn't exist any longer, does it?"

## Death

By the time Hilbert died in 1943, the Nazis had nearly completely restaffed the university, as many of the former faculty had either been Jewish or married to Jews. Hilbert's funeral was attended by fewer than a dozen people, only two of whom were fellow academics, among them Arnold Sommerfeld, a theoretical physicist and also a native of Königsberg. News of his death only became known to the wider world several months after he died. The epitaph on his tombstone in Göttingen consists of the famous lines he spoke at the conclusion of his retirement address to the Society of German Scientists and Physicians on 8 September 1930. The words were given in response to the Latin maxim: "''
Ignoramus et ignorabimus The Latin maxim , meaning "we do not know and will not know", represents the idea that scientific knowledge is limited. It was popularized by Emil du Bois-Reymond, a German physiologist, in his 1872 address ("The Limits of Science"). Seven ...
''" or "We do not know, we shall not know": The day before Hilbert pronounced these phrases at the 1930 annual meeting of the Society of German Scientists and Physicians, Kurt Gödel—in a round table discussion during the Conference on Epistemology held jointly with the Society meetings—tentatively announced the first expression of his incompleteness theorem. "The Conference on Epistemology of the Exact Sciences ran for three days, from 5 to 7 September" (Dawson 1997:68). "It ... was held in conjunction with and just before the ninety-first annual meeting of the Society of German Scientists and Physicians ... and the sixth Assembly of German Physicists and Mathematicians.... Gödel's contributed talk took place on Saturday, 6 September 930 from 3 until 3:20 in the afternoon, and on Sunday the meeting concluded with a round table discussion of the first day's addresses. During the latter event, without warning and almost offhandedly, Gödel quietly announced that "one can even give examples of propositions (and in fact of those of the type of Goldbach or
Fermat Pierre de Fermat (; between 31 October and 6 December 1607 – 12 January 1665) was a French mathematician who is given credit for early developments that led to infinitesimal calculus, including his technique of adequality. In particular, he is ...
) that, while contentually true, are unprovable in the formal system of classical mathematics 53 (Dawson:69) "... As it happened, Hilbert himself was present at Königsberg, though apparently not at the Conference on Epistemology. The day after the roundtable discussion he delivered the opening address before the Society of German Scientists and Physicians – his famous lecture ''Naturerkennen und Logik'' (Logic and the knowledge of nature), at the end of which he declared: 'For the mathematician there is no Ignorabimus, and, in my opinion, not at all for natural science either. ... The true reason why o-onehas succeeded in finding an unsolvable problem is, in my opinion, that there is ''no'' unsolvable problem. In contrast to the foolish Ignorabimus, our credo avers: We must know, We shall know 59"(Dawson:71). Gödel's paper was received on November 17, 1930 (cf Reid p. 197, van Heijenoort 1976:592) and published on 25 March 1931 (Dawson 1997:74). But Gödel had given a talk about it beforehand... "An abstract had been presented in October 1930 to the Vienna Academy of Sciences by Hans Hahn" (van Heijenoort:592); this abstract and the full paper both appear in van Heijenoort:583ff.
Gödel's incompleteness theorems Gödel's incompleteness theorems are two theorems of mathematical logic Mathematical logic is the study of logic, formal logic within mathematics. Major subareas include model theory, proof theory, set theory, and recursion theory. Research i ...
show that even
elementary Elementary may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Music * ''Elementary'' (Cindy Morgan album), 2001 * ''Elementary'' (The End album), 2007 * ''Elementary'', a Melvin "Wah-Wah Watson" Ragin album, 1977 Other uses in arts, entertainment, a ...
axiomatic systems such as
Peano arithmetic In mathematical logic, the Peano axioms, also known as the Dedekind–Peano axioms or the Peano postulates, are axioms for the natural numbers presented by the 19th century Italian mathematician Giuseppe Peano. These axioms have been used nearly u ...
are either self-contradicting or contain logical propositions that are impossible to prove or disprove within that system.

# Contributions to mathematics and physics

## Hilbert solves Gordan's Problem

Hilbert's first work on invariant functions led him to the demonstration in 1888 of his famous ''finiteness theorem''. Twenty years earlier,
Paul Gordan __NOTOC__ Paul Albert Gordan (27 April 1837 – 21 December 1912) was a Jewish-German mathematician, a student of Carl Jacobi at the University of Königsberg before obtaining his PhD at the University of Breslau (1862),. and a professor ...
theorem In mathematics, a theorem is a statement that has been proved, or can be proved. The ''proof'' of a theorem is a logical argument that uses the inference rules of a deductive system to establish that the theorem is a logical consequence of th ...
of the finiteness of generators for binary forms using a complex computational approach. Attempts to generalize his method to functions with more than two variables failed because of the enormous difficulty of the calculations involved. To solve what had become known in some circles as ''Gordan's Problem'', Hilbert realized that it was necessary to take a completely different path. As a result, he demonstrated '' Hilbert's basis theorem'', showing the existence of a finite set of generators, for the invariants of quantics in any number of variables, but in an abstract form. That is, while demonstrating the existence of such a set, it was not a
constructive proof In mathematics, a constructive proof is a method of mathematical proof, proof that demonstrates the existence of a mathematical object by creating or providing a method for creating the object. This is in contrast to a non-constructive proof (also ...
—it did not display "an object"—but rather, it was an
existence proof In mathematics, a constructive proof is a method of proof that demonstrates the existence of a mathematical object by creating or providing a method for creating the object. This is in contrast to a non-constructive proof (also known as an existenc ...
and relied on use of the
law of excluded middle In logic, the law of excluded middle (or the principle of excluded middle) states that for every proposition, either this proposition or its negation is true. It is one of the so-called three laws of thought, along with the law of noncontradi ...
in an infinite extension. Hilbert sent his results to the ''
Mathematische Annalen ''Mathematische Annalen'' (abbreviated as ''Math. Ann.'' or, formerly, ''Math. Annal.'') is a German mathematical research journal founded in 1868 by Alfred Clebsch and Carl Neumann. Subsequent managing editors were Felix Klein, David Hilbert, ...
''. Gordan, the house expert on the theory of invariants for the ''Mathematische Annalen'', could not appreciate the revolutionary nature of Hilbert's theorem and rejected the article, criticizing the exposition because it was insufficiently comprehensive. His comment was: Klein, on the other hand, recognized the importance of the work, and guaranteed that it would be published without any alterations. Encouraged by Klein, Hilbert extended his method in a second article, providing estimations on the maximum degree of the minimum set of generators, and he sent it once more to the ''Annalen''. After having read the manuscript, Klein wrote to him, saying: Later, after the usefulness of Hilbert's method was universally recognized, Gordan himself would say: For all his successes, the nature of his proof created more trouble than Hilbert could have imagined. Although Kronecker had conceded, Hilbert would later respond to others' similar criticisms that "many different constructions are subsumed under one fundamental idea"—in other words (to quote Reid): "Through a proof of existence, Hilbert had been able to obtain a construction"; "the proof" (i.e. the symbols on the page) ''was'' "the object". Not all were convinced. While Kronecker would die soon afterwards, his constructivist philosophy would continue with the young
Brouwer Brouwer (also Brouwers and de Brouwer) is a Dutch and Flemish surname. The word ''brouwer'' means 'beer brewer'. Brouwer * Adriaen Brouwer (1605–1638), Flemish painter * Alexander Brouwer (b. 1989), Dutch beach volleyball player * Andries Bro ...
and his developing
intuitionist In the philosophy of mathematics, intuitionism, or neointuitionism (opposed to preintuitionism), is an approach where mathematics is considered to be purely the result of the constructive mental activity of humans rather than the discovery of fu ...
"school", much to Hilbert's torment in his later years. Indeed, Hilbert would lose his "gifted pupil"
Weyl Hermann Klaus Hugo Weyl, (; 9 November 1885 – 8 December 1955) was a German mathematician, theoretical physicist and philosopher. Although much of his working life was spent in Zürich, Switzerland, and then Princeton, New Jersey, he is ass ...
to intuitionism—"Hilbert was disturbed by his former student's fascination with the ideas of Brouwer, which aroused in Hilbert the memory of Kronecker". Brouwer the intuitionist in particular opposed the use of the Law of Excluded Middle over infinite sets (as Hilbert had used it). Hilbert responded:

## Axiomatization of geometry

The text '' Grundlagen der Geometrie'' (tr.: ''Foundations of Geometry'') published by Hilbert in 1899 proposes a formal set, called Hilbert's axioms, substituting for the traditional axioms of Euclid. They avoid weaknesses identified in those of
Euclid Euclid (; grc-gre, Wikt:Εὐκλείδης, Εὐκλείδης; BC) was an ancient Greek mathematician active as a geometer and logician. Considered the "father of geometry", he is chiefly known for the ''Euclid's Elements, Elements'' trea ...
, whose works at the time were still used textbook-fashion. It is difficult to specify the axioms used by Hilbert without referring to the publication history of the ''Grundlagen'' since Hilbert changed and modified them several times. The original monograph was quickly followed by a French translation, in which Hilbert added V.2, the Completeness Axiom. An English translation, authorized by Hilbert, was made by E.J. Townsend and copyrighted in 1902. This translation incorporated the changes made in the French translation and so is considered to be a translation of the 2nd edition. Hilbert continued to make changes in the text and several editions appeared in German. The 7th edition was the last to appear in Hilbert's lifetime. New editions followed the 7th, but the main text was essentially not revised. Hilbert's approach signaled the shift to the modern
axiomatic method In mathematics and logic, an axiomatic system is any set of axioms from which some or all axioms can be used in conjunction to logically derive theorems. A theory is a consistent, relatively-self-contained body of knowledge which usually conta ...
. In this, Hilbert was anticipated by
Moritz Pasch Moritz Pasch (8 November 1843, Breslau, Prussia (now Wrocław, Poland) – 20 September 1930, Bad Homburg, Germany) was a German mathematician of Jewish ancestry specializing in the foundations of geometry. He completed his Ph.D. at the Univer ...
's work from 1882. Axioms are not taken as self-evident truths. Geometry may treat ''things'', about which we have powerful intuitions, but it is not necessary to assign any explicit meaning to the undefined concepts. The elements, such as
point Point or points may refer to: Places * Point, Lewis, a peninsula in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland * Point, Texas, a city in Rains County, Texas, United States * Point, the NE tip and a ferry terminal of Lismore, Inner Hebrides, Scotland * Point ...
, line,
plane Plane(s) most often refers to: * Aero- or airplane, a powered, fixed-wing aircraft * Plane (geometry), a flat, 2-dimensional surface Plane or planes may also refer to: Biology * Plane (tree) or ''Platanus'', wetland native plant * ''Planes' ...
, and others, could be substituted, as Hilbert is reported to have said to
Schoenflies Arthur Moritz Schoenflies (; 17 April 1853 – 27 May 1928), sometimes written as Schönflies, was a German mathematician, known for his contributions to the application of group theory to crystallography, and for work in topology. Schoenflies ...
and
Kötter Cotter, cottier, cottar, or is the German or Scots term for a peasant farmer (formerly in the Scottish Highlands for example). Cotters occupied cottages and cultivated small land lots. The word ''cotter'' is often employed to translate th ...
, by tables, chairs, glasses of beer and other such objects. It is their defined relationships that are discussed. Hilbert first enumerates the undefined concepts: point, line, plane, lying on (a relation between points and lines, points and planes, and lines and planes), betweenness, congruence of pairs of points (
line segment In geometry, a line segment is a part of a straight line that is bounded by two distinct end points, and contains every point on the line that is between its endpoints. The length of a line segment is given by the Euclidean distance between ...
s), and congruence of
angle In Euclidean geometry, an angle is the figure formed by two Ray (geometry), rays, called the ''Side (plane geometry), sides'' of the angle, sharing a common endpoint, called the ''vertex (geometry), vertex'' of the angle. Angles formed by two ...
s. The axioms unify both the
plane geometry Euclidean geometry is a mathematical system attributed to ancient Greek mathematician Euclid, which he described in his textbook on geometry: the '' Elements''. Euclid's approach consists in assuming a small set of intuitively appealing axioms ...
and
solid geometry In mathematics, solid geometry or stereometry is the traditional name for the geometry of three-dimensional, Euclidean spaces (i.e., 3D geometry). Stereometry deals with the measurements of volumes of various solid figures (or 3D figures), inc ...
of Euclid in a single system.

## The 23 problems

Hilbert put forth a most influential list of 23 unsolved problems at the
International Congress of Mathematicians The International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM) is the largest conference for the topic of mathematics. It meets once every four years, hosted by the International Mathematical Union (IMU). The Fields Medals, the Nevanlinna Prize (to be rename ...
in
Paris Paris () is the capital and most populous city of France, with an estimated population of 2,165,423 residents in 2019 in an area of more than 105 km² (41 sq mi), making it the 30th most densely populated city in the world in 2020. S ...
in 1900. This is generally reckoned as the most successful and deeply considered compilation of open problems ever to be produced by an individual mathematician. After re-working the foundations of classical geometry, Hilbert could have extrapolated to the rest of mathematics. His approach differed, however, from the later "foundationalist" Russell–Whitehead or "encyclopedist" Nicolas Bourbaki, and from his contemporary
Giuseppe Peano Giuseppe Peano (; ; 27 August 1858 – 20 April 1932) was an Italian mathematician and glottologist. The author of over 200 books and papers, he was a founder of mathematical logic and set theory, to which he contributed much notation. The sta ...
. The mathematical community as a whole could enlist in problems, which he had identified as crucial aspects of the areas of mathematics he took to be key. The problem set was launched as a talk "The Problems of Mathematics" presented during the course of the Second International Congress of Mathematicians held in Paris. The introduction of the speech that Hilbert gave said: He presented fewer than half the problems at the Congress, which were published in the acts of the Congress. In a subsequent publication, he extended the panorama, and arrived at the formulation of the now-canonical 23 Problems of Hilbert. See also
Hilbert's twenty-fourth problem Hilbert's twenty-fourth problem is a mathematical problem that was not published as part of the list of 23 problems known as Hilbert's problems but was included in David Hilbert's original notes. The problem asks for a criterion of simplicity in ma ...
. The full text is important, since the exegesis of the questions still can be a matter of inevitable debate, whenever it is asked how many have been solved. Some of these were solved within a short time. Others have been discussed throughout the 20th century, with a few now taken to be unsuitably open-ended to come to closure. Some continue to remain challenges.

## Formalism

In an account that had become standard by the mid-century, Hilbert's problem set was also a kind of manifesto that opened the way for the development of the formalist school, one of three major schools of mathematics of the 20th century. According to the formalist, mathematics is manipulation of symbols according to agreed upon formal rules. It is therefore an autonomous activity of thought. There is, however, room to doubt whether Hilbert's own views were simplistically formalist in this sense.

### Hilbert's program

In 1920, Hilbert proposed a research project in
metamathematics Metamathematics is the study of mathematics itself using mathematical methods. This study produces metatheories, which are mathematical theories about other mathematical theories. Emphasis on metamathematics (and perhaps the creation of the ter ...
that became known as Hilbert's program. He wanted mathematics to be formulated on a solid and complete logical foundation. He believed that in principle this could be done by showing that: # all of mathematics follows from a correctly chosen finite system of
axiom An axiom, postulate, or assumption is a statement that is taken to be true, to serve as a premise or starting point for further reasoning and arguments. The word comes from the Ancient Greek word (), meaning 'that which is thought worthy or f ...
s; and # that some such axiom system is provably consistent through some means such as the
epsilon calculus Hilbert's epsilon calculus is an extension of a formal language by the epsilon operator, where the epsilon operator substitutes for quantifiers in that language as a method leading to a proof of consistency for the extended formal language. The ' ...
. He seems to have had both technical and philosophical reasons for formulating this proposal. It affirmed his dislike of what had become known as the ignorabimus, still an active issue in his time in German thought, and traced back in that formulation to Emil du Bois-Reymond. This program is still recognizable in the most popular philosophy of mathematics, where it is usually called ''formalism''. For example, the Bourbaki group adopted a watered-down and selective version of it as adequate to the requirements of their twin projects of (a) writing encyclopedic foundational works, and (b) supporting the
axiomatic method In mathematics and logic, an axiomatic system is any set of axioms from which some or all axioms can be used in conjunction to logically derive theorems. A theory is a consistent, relatively-self-contained body of knowledge which usually conta ...
as a research tool. This approach has been successful and influential in relation with Hilbert's work in algebra and functional analysis, but has failed to engage in the same way with his interests in physics and logic. Hilbert wrote in 1919: Hilbert published his views on the foundations of mathematics in the 2-volume work,
Grundlagen der Mathematik ''Grundlagen der Mathematik'' (English: ''Foundations of Mathematics'') is a two-volume work by David Hilbert and Paul Bernays. Originally published in 1934 and 1939, it presents fundamental mathematical ideas and introduced second-order arithme ...
.

### Gödel's work

Hilbert and the mathematicians who worked with him in his enterprise were committed to the project. His attempt to support axiomatized mathematics with definitive principles, which could banish theoretical uncertainties, ended in failure. Kurt Gödel, Gödel demonstrated that any non-contradictory formal system, which was comprehensive enough to include at least arithmetic, cannot demonstrate its completeness by way of its own axioms. In 1931 his Gödel's incompleteness theorem, incompleteness theorem showed that Hilbert's grand plan was impossible as stated. The second point cannot in any reasonable way be combined with the first point, as long as the axiom system is genuinely finitary. Nevertheless, the subsequent achievements of proof theory at the very least ''clarified'' consistency as it relates to theories of central concern to mathematicians. Hilbert's work had started logic on this course of clarification; the need to understand Gödel's work then led to the development of recursion theory and then
mathematical logic Mathematical logic is the study of logic, formal logic within mathematics. Major subareas include model theory, proof theory, set theory, and recursion theory. Research in mathematical logic commonly addresses the mathematical properties of for ...
as an autonomous discipline in the 1930s. The basis for later theoretical computer science, in the work of
Alonzo Church Alonzo Church (June 14, 1903 – August 11, 1995) was an American mathematician, computer scientist, logician, philosopher, professor and editor who made major contributions to mathematical logic and the foundations of theoretical computer scien ...
and Alan Turing, also grew directly out of this "debate".

## Functional analysis

Around 1909, Hilbert dedicated himself to the study of differential and integral equations; his work had direct consequences for important parts of modern functional analysis. In order to carry out these studies, Hilbert introduced the concept of an infinite dimensional Euclidean space, later called Hilbert space. His work in this part of analysis provided the basis for important contributions to the mathematics of physics in the next two decades, though from an unanticipated direction. Later on, Stefan Banach amplified the concept, defining Banach spaces. Hilbert spaces are an important class of objects in the area of functional analysis, particularly of the
spectral theory In mathematics, spectral theory is an inclusive term for theories extending the eigenvector and eigenvalue theory of a single square matrix to a much broader theory of the structure of operators in a variety of mathematical spaces. It is a result ...
of self-adjoint linear operators, that grew up around it during the 20th century.

## Physics

Until 1912, Hilbert was almost exclusively a pure mathematician. When planning a visit from Bonn, where he was immersed in studying physics, his fellow mathematician and friend
Hermann Minkowski Hermann Minkowski (; ; 22 June 1864 – 12 January 1909) was a German mathematician and professor at Königsberg, Zürich and Göttingen. He created and developed the geometry of numbers and used geometrical methods to solve problems in number t ...
joked he had to spend 10 days in quarantine before being able to visit Hilbert. In fact, Minkowski seems responsible for most of Hilbert's physics investigations prior to 1912, including their joint seminar on the subject in 1905. In 1912, three years after his friend's death, Hilbert turned his focus to the subject almost exclusively. He arranged to have a "physics tutor" for himself. He started studying Kinetic theory of gases, kinetic gas theory and moved on to elementary radiation theory and the molecular theory of matter. Even after the war started in 1914, he continued seminars and classes where the works of
Albert Einstein Albert Einstein ( ; ; 14 March 1879 – 18 April 1955) was a German-born theoretical physicist, widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest and most influential physicists of all time. Einstein is best known for developing the theory ...
and others were followed closely. By 1907, Einstein had framed the fundamentals of the theory of gravity, but then struggled for nearly 8 years to put the theory into General Relativity, its final form. By early summer 1915, Hilbert's interest in physics had focused on general relativity, and he invited Einstein to Göttingen to deliver a week of lectures on the subject. Einstein received an enthusiastic reception at Göttingen. Over the summer, Einstein learned that Hilbert was also working on the field equations and redoubled his own efforts. During November 1915, Einstein published several papers culminating in ''The Field Equations of Gravitation'' (see Einstein field equations).In time, associating the gravitational field equations with Hilbert's name became less and less common. A noticeable exception is P. Jordan (Schwerkraft und Weltall, Braunschweig, Vieweg, 1952), who called the equations of gravitation in the vacuum the Einstein–Hilbert equations. (''Leo Corry, David Hilbert and the Axiomatization of Physics'', p. 437) Nearly simultaneously, Hilbert published "The Foundations of Physics", an axiomatic derivation of the field equations (see Einstein–Hilbert action). Hilbert fully credited Einstein as the originator of the theory and no public priority dispute concerning the field equations ever arose between the two men during their lives.Since 1971 there have been some spirited and scholarly discussions about which of the two men first presented the now accepted form of the field equations. "Hilbert freely admitted, and frequently stated in lectures, that the great idea was Einstein's: "Every boy in the streets of Gottingen understands more about four dimensional geometry than Einstein," he once remarked. "Yet, in spite of that, Einstein did the work and not the mathematicians." (Reid 1996, pp. 141–142, also Isaacson 2007:222 quoting Thorne p. 119). See more at General relativity priority dispute, priority. Additionally, Hilbert's work anticipated and assisted several advances in the mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics. His work was a key aspect of
Hermann Weyl Hermann Klaus Hugo Weyl, (; 9 November 1885 – 8 December 1955) was a German mathematician, theoretical physicist and philosopher. Although much of his working life was spent in Zürich, Switzerland, and then Princeton, New Jersey, he is assoc ...
and
John von Neumann John von Neumann (; hu, Neumann János Lajos, ; December 28, 1903 – February 8, 1957) was a Hungarian-American mathematician, physicist, computer scientist, engineer and polymath. He was regarded as having perhaps the widest cove ...
's work on the mathematical equivalence of Werner Heisenberg's matrix mechanics and Erwin Schrödinger's Schrödinger equation, wave equation, and his namesake Hilbert space plays an important part in quantum theory. In 1926, von Neumann showed that, if quantum states were understood as vectors in Hilbert space, they would correspond with both Schrödinger's wave function theory and Heisenberg's matrices.In 1926, the year after the matrix mechanics formulation of quantum theory by Max Born and Werner Heisenberg, the mathematician
John von Neumann John von Neumann (; hu, Neumann János Lajos, ; December 28, 1903 – February 8, 1957) was a Hungarian-American mathematician, physicist, computer scientist, engineer and polymath. He was regarded as having perhaps the widest cove ...
became an assistant to Hilbert at Göttingen. When von Neumann left in 1932, von Neumann's book on the mathematical foundations of quantum mechanics, based on Hilbert's mathematics, was published under the title ''Mathematische Grundlagen der Quantenmechanik''. See: Norman Macrae (1999) ''John von Neumann: The Scientific Genius Who Pioneered the Modern Computer, Game Theory, Nuclear Deterrence, and Much More'' (reprinted by the American Mathematical Society) and Reid (1996).
Throughout this immersion in physics, Hilbert worked on putting rigor into the mathematics of physics. While highly dependent on higher mathematics, physicists tended to be "sloppy" with it. To a pure mathematician like Hilbert, this was both ugly, and difficult to understand. As he began to understand physics and how physicists were using mathematics, he developed a coherent mathematical theory for what he found – most importantly in the area of
integral equations In mathematics, integral equations are equations in which an unknown function appears under an integral sign. In mathematical notation, integral equations may thus be expressed as being of the form: f(x_1,x_2,x_3,...,x_n ; u(x_1,x_2,x_3,...,x_n) ...
. When his colleague Richard Courant wrote the now classic ''Methoden der mathematischen Physik'' (''Methods of Mathematical Physics'') including some of Hilbert's ideas, he added Hilbert's name as author even though Hilbert had not directly contributed to the writing. Hilbert said "Physics is too hard for physicists", implying that the necessary mathematics was generally beyond them; the Courant-Hilbert book made it easier for them.

## Number theory

Hilbert unified the field of
algebraic number theory Algebraic number theory is a branch of number theory that uses the techniques of abstract algebra to study the integers, rational numbers, and their generalizations. Number-theoretic questions are expressed in terms of properties of algebraic ob ...
with his 1897 treatise ''Zahlbericht'' (literally "report on numbers"). He also resolved a significant number-theory Waring's problem, problem formulated by Waring in 1770. As with #The finiteness theorem, the finiteness theorem, he used an existence proof that shows there must be solutions for the problem rather than providing a mechanism to produce the answers. He then had little more to publish on the subject; but the emergence of Hilbert modular forms in the dissertation of a student means his name is further attached to a major area. He made a series of conjectures on class field theory. The concepts were highly influential, and his own contribution lives on in the names of the Hilbert class field and of the Hilbert symbol of local class field theory. Results were mostly proved by 1930, after work by Teiji Takagi.This work established Takagi as Japan's first mathematician of international stature. Hilbert did not work in the central areas of analytic number theory, but his name has become known for the Hilbert–Pólya conjecture, for reasons that are anecdotal.

# Works

His collected works (''Gesammelte Abhandlungen'') have been published several times. The original versions of his papers contained "many technical errors of varying degree";, chap. 13. when the collection was first published, the errors were corrected and it was found that this could be done without major changes in the statements of the theorems, with one exception—a claimed proof of the continuum hypothesis.Gian-Carlo Rota, Rota G.-C. (1997),
Ten lessons I wish I had been taught
, ''Notices of the AMS'', 44: 22-25.
The errors were nonetheless so numerous and significant that it took Olga Taussky-Todd three years to make the corrections.

## Concepts

* List of things named after David Hilbert * Foundations of geometry * Hilbert C*-module * Hilbert cube * Hilbert curve * Hilbert matrix * Hilbert metric * Hilbert–Mumford criterion * Hilbert number * Hilbert ring * Hilbert–Poincaré series * Hilbert series and Hilbert polynomial * Hilbert space * Hilbert spectrum * Hilbert system * Hilbert transform * Hilbert's arithmetic of ends * Hilbert's paradox of the Grand Hotel * Hilbert–Schmidt operator * Hilbert–Smith conjecture

## Theorems

* Hilbert–Burch theorem * Hilbert's irreducibility theorem * Hilbert's Nullstellensatz * Hilbert's theorem (differential geometry) * Hilbert's Theorem 90 * Hilbert's syzygy theorem * Hilbert–Speiser theorem

## Other

* Brouwer–Hilbert controversy * Direct method in the calculus of variations * Entscheidungsproblem * ''Geometry and the Imagination'' * General relativity priority dispute

# Sources

## Primary literature in English translation

* ** 1918. "Axiomatic thought," 1114–1115. ** 1922. "The new grounding of mathematics: First report," 1115–1133. ** 1923. "The logical foundations of mathematics," 1134–1147. ** 1930. "Logic and the knowledge of nature," 1157–1165. ** 1931. "The grounding of elementary number theory," 1148–1156. ** 1904. "On the foundations of logic and arithmetic," 129–138. ** 1925. "On the infinite," 367–392. ** 1927. "The foundations of mathematics," with comment by Weyl and Appendix by Bernays, 464–489. * * * * *

## Secondary literature

* , available at Gallica. The "Address" of Gabriel Bertrand of 20 December 1943 at the French Academy: he gives biographical sketches of the lives of recently deceased members, including Pieter Zeeman, David Hilbert and Georges Giraud. * Bottazzini Umberto, 2003. ''Il flauto di Hilbert. Storia della matematica''. UTET, * Corry, L., Renn, J., and Stachel, J., 1997, "Belated Decision in the Hilbert-Einstein Priority Dispute," ''Science 278'': nn-nn. * * Dawson, John W. Jr 1997. ''Logical Dilemmas: The Life and Work of Kurt Gödel''. Wellesley MA: A. K. Peters. . * * Ivor Grattan-Guinness, Grattan-Guinness, Ivor, 2000. ''The Search for Mathematical Roots 1870–1940''. Princeton Univ. Press. * Jeremy Gray, Gray, Jeremy, 2000. ''The Hilbert Challenge''. * * Jagdish Mehra, Mehra, Jagdish, 1974. ''Einstein, Hilbert, and the Theory of Gravitation''. Reidel. * Piergiorgio Odifreddi, 2003. ''Divertimento Geometrico. Le origini geometriche della logica da Euclide a Hilbert''. Bollati Boringhieri, . A clear exposition of the "errors" of Euclid and of the solutions presented in the ''Grundlagen der Geometrie'', with reference to non-Euclidean geometry. * The definitive English-language biography of Hilbert. * * * *Sieg, Wilfried, and Ravaglia, Mark, 2005, "Grundlagen der Mathematik" in Ivor Grattan-Guinness, Grattan-Guinness, I., ed., ''Landmark Writings in Western Mathematics''. Elsevier: 981-99. (in English) * Kip Thorne, Thorne, Kip, 1995. ''Black Holes and Time Warps, Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein's Outrageous Legacy'', W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition. .

Hilbert Bernays Project

ICMM 2014 dedicated to the memory of D.Hilbert
* * *
Hilbert's radio speech recorded in Königsberg 1930 (in German)
, with Englis
translation

* *
'From Hilbert's Problems to the Future'
lecture by Professor Robin Wilson, Gresham College, 27 February 2008 (available in text, audio and video formats). * {{DEFAULTSORT:Hilbert, David David Hilbert, 1862 births 1943 deaths 19th-century German mathematicians 20th-century German mathematicians Foreign Members of the Royal Society Foreign associates of the National Academy of Sciences German agnostics Formalism (deductive) Former Protestants Geometers Mathematical analysts Number theorists Operator theorists Scientists from Königsberg People from the Province of Prussia Recipients of the Pour le Mérite (civil class) German relativity theorists University of Göttingen faculty University of Königsberg alumni University of Königsberg faculty