Talk:John von Neumann

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Good article John von Neumann has been listed as one of the Warfare good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
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May 28, 2016 Good article nominee Listed
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Convictions?[edit]

I truly have a dislike of trying label people or retrospectively try to guess, speculate on somebodies inner most convictions. It still has to be said that some facts can be pieced togheter. Koldewe (talk) 18:51, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

dont know what section to use so using this one - his conviction was to bomb Kyoto a military insignificant city? what ahols are these mathematicians? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Juror1 (talkcontribs) 07:45, 27 February 2016 (UTC)

Contradiction of Mother's year of death between article and Tombstone picture[edit]

Under the "Later life and death" section, second paragraph, first sentence, it was stated that his mother, Margaret von Neumann, died in 1936. However on the tombstone in the picture on the right, we could see on the lower left side that it reads, "MARGARET VON NEUMANN 1881-1956" --Positronblue (talk) 10:16, 14 October 2015 (UTC)

Yes, good catch. It's well known that she died not long before her son's own death and shortly after her granddaughter's wedding. I've gone and fixed that passage. — Myasuda (talk) 12:53, 14 October 2015 (UTC)

small additional paragraph in intro referencing section in article proper on pop interest in his iq etc[edit]

referencing info in article proper on well-known, often repeated anecdotes/tales of his brilliance etc and pop interest in how smart he was, got reverted due to puffery... "Von Neumann's contemporaries told many stories about his unusual intelligence. His mind was described by even his brilliant peers as having an otherworldly quality. It has been speculated that Von Neumann's IQ may be among the highest in human history."

Business Insider article cited about this speculation...think modestly improves intro for people with pop/nontechnical interest in subject...could change "brilliant peers" to "intellectual peers" and "otherworldly quality" to "different quality" for less puffery....but seems a fairly sober paragraph to me that summarizes info in article proper.. 68.48.241.158 (talk) 18:09, 26 February 2016 (UTC)

Corruption of article by Hawkeye7[edit]

User:Hawkeye7 has made many changes to the article, including adding statements directly contradicted by the cited sources and removing statements supported by cited reliable sources. I reverted two changes, then realized how many other problems they had introduced. 81.158.250.223 (talk) 19:44, 6 March 2016 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:John von Neumann/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Hchc2009 (talk · contribs) 06:51, 1 May 2016 (UTC)


I'll read through later and review. Looks interesting! Hchc2009 (talk) 06:51, 1 May 2016 (UTC)

It was a difficult article to work with. He has the longest "known for" on Wikipedia. I suppose it makes sense that with all his contributions to mathematics, computing and economics, that MilHist would claim him in the end. Hawkeye7 (talk) 04:34, 2 May 2016 (UTC)


Well-written:

(a) the prose is clear and concise, respects copyright laws, and the spelling and grammar are correct;

  • "His father, Neumann Miksa (Max Neumann) was a banker" - I wasn't sure what the version in parentheses meant here - did he actually use it, or is it just a translation? (ditto later versions)
    It is just a translation into German, nothing more. He did actually use it.
  • Could we go for "Neumann Miksa (English: Max Neumann)" or something like that to make it clear?
    YesY Sure. Hawkeye7 (talk) 23:44, 15 May 2016 (UTC)
  • "so it was arranged for him" - to avoid repetition of "so it was..." could this be just "so he took a two-year non-degree course"?
    Removed the first instance. Hawkeye7 (talk) 23:35, 12 May 2016 (UTC)
  • "allowed him to recite volumes of information, and even entire directories," - any particular sort of directories? I'm imagining telephone directories, but not sure...
    Not the entire telephone directory. Changed to: his reputed powers of memorization and recall allowed him to quickly memorize a column from the telephone book and recite the names Hawkeye7 (talk) 23:39, 15 May 2016 (UTC)
  • "They had one child, a daughter, Marina," - "John and Mariette had one child..." would be clearer here, given the paragraph. Would advise "who as of 2015 was a distinguished professor of business administration and public policy at the University of Michigan."
    Yes, but I don't want to call them John and Mariette. Added {{as of|2015}} template. Hawkeye7 (talk) 23:39, 15 May 2016 (UTC)
  • "He remained a mathematics professor there until his death, although he announced that shortly before his intention to resign" -"announced shortly before that"
    YesY Done. Hawkeye7 (talk) 23:39, 15 May 2016 (UTC)
  • "His prewar analysis is often quoted. " - a little unclear. "His analysis of the prewar political situation is often quoted. "?
    No, because the point is that he forecast the Fall of France. Reworded slightly. Hawkeye7 (talk) 23:39, 15 May 2016 (UTC)
  • " Von Neumann did some of his best work blazingly fast in noisy, chaotic environments, " - "very quickly" would feel a bit more formal.
    Deleted "blazingly fast", which is not supported by the reference. Hawkeye7 (talk) 23:39, 15 May 2016 (UTC)
  • "A later friend of Ulam's, Gian-Carlo Rota writes" -"A later friend of Ulam's, Gian-Carlo Rota, writes"
    YesY Done. Hawkeye7 (talk) 23:39, 15 May 2016 (UTC)
  • "The axiomatization of mathematics, on the model of Euclid's Elements, had reached new levels of rigour and breadth at the end of the 19th century, particularly in arithmetic, thanks to the axiom schema of Richard Dedekind and Charles Sanders Peirce, and geometry, thanks to David Hilbert." - is there any way of breaking this sentence up a bit, perhaps after "19th century"? NB: I couldn't really see how this linked to the 20th century bit of the paragraph; I wondered if the first sentence was really necessary?
    Axiomatization was something of a movement in the late 19th and early 20th century. It all fell in a giant heap. Hawkeye7 (talk) 23:39, 15 May 2016 (UTC)
  • "The axiom of foundation established that every set can be constructed from the bottom up in an ordered succession of steps by way of the principles of Zermelo and Fraenkel, in such a manner that if one set belongs to another then the first must necessarily come before the second in the succession, hence excluding the possibility of a set belonging to itself. " - again, could this break after "Fraenkel"?
    YesY "The axiom of foundation established that every set can be constructed from the bottom up in an ordered succession of steps by way of the principles of Zermelo and Fraenkel. If one set belongs to another then the first must necessarily come before the second in the succession. This excludes the possibility of a set belonging to itself.
  • "The second approach to the problem" - I wasn't quite sure what the "problem" was...? Was it still the " adequate axiomatization of set theory "? If so, could we remind the reader?
    YesY "The second approach to the problem of sets belonging to themselves" Hawkeye7 (talk) 23:39, 15 May 2016 (UTC)
  • "Von Neumann was motivated by his discovery of von Neumann algebras with a dimension function taking a continuous range of dimensions" - I couldn't work out if the "with" meant that the algebras had a dimension function, or if it related to the discovery.
    It relates to the algebras. A von Neumann algebra is generated by its dimension function. Hawkeye7 (talk) 23:41, 15 May 2016 (UTC)
  • "The work of Banach had implied" - could we give him his first name?
    YesY Done. Hawkeye7 (talk) 23:39, 15 May 2016 (UTC)
  • "that the problem of measure " - you're doing a cracking job with the maths bits, so I feel a bit unfair about asking... could we explain what the problem of measure is? Hchc2009 (talk) 19:12, 13 May 2016 (UTC)
    YesY The "problem of measure" for an n-dimensional Euclidean space Rn may be stated as: "does there exist a positive, normalized, invariant, and additive set function on the class of all subsets of Rn?" Hawkeye7 (talk) 23:39, 15 May 2016 (UTC)

(b) it complies with the manual of style guidelines for lead sections, layout, words to watch, fiction, and list incorporation.

Factually accurate and verifiable:

(a) it provides references to all sources of information in the section(s) dedicated to the attribution of these sources according to the guide to layout;

(b) it provides in-line citations from reliable sources for direct quotations, statistics, published opinion, counter-intuitive or controversial statements that are challenged or likely to be challenged, and contentious material relating to living persons—science-based articles should follow the scientific citation guidelines;

(c) it contains no original research.

  • None found so far. Hchc2009 (talk) 23:03, 12 May 2016 (UTC)

Broad in its coverage:

(a) it addresses the main aspects of the topic;

(b) it stays focused on the topic without going into unnecessary detail (see summary style).

Neutral: it represents viewpoints fairly and without bias, giving due weight to each.

  • Appears neutral so far. Hchc2009 (talk) 08:04, 8 May 2016 (UTC)

Stable: it does not change significantly from day to day because of an ongoing edit war or content dispute.

Illustrated, if possible, by images:

(a) images are tagged with their copyright status, and valid fair use rationales are provided for non-free content;

  • File:NeumannVonMargitta.jpg - the user KurtSchwitters claims to hold the copyright on this, but as the material dates from Berlin in 1928 this sounds unlikely... the copyright tag needs checking.
    I think he just means that he scanned it. I don't know when German copyrights expire, so removed. Hawkeye7 (talk) 09:03, 8 May 2016 (UTC)
  • File:Princeton IAS computer.jpg - I don't think the license is correct here; the National Museum of American History / Smithsonian isn't a Federal institution, and their FAQ page linked to the source states that their images can't be used for commercial purposes. Hchc2009 (talk) 08:02, 8 May 2016 (UTC)
    I think he just means that the computer is in the public domain. But there is no Freedom of Panorama in the United States, so removed. Hawkeye7 (talk) 09:03, 8 May 2016 (UTC)

(b) images are relevant to the topic, and have suitable captions.

He published 150 papers in his life[edit]

"He published 150 papers in his life: 60 in pure mathematics, 20 in physics, and 60 in applied mathematics. "

That's, uh, 140 papers! In an article about a mathematician!

I dunno what the other 10 are, but it should be mentioned, even if it just says "and 10 in other fields". Of course it would be nice to give a rough idea of what they are.

188.29.165.185 (talk) 13:53, 22 August 2016 (UTC)

I tracked down the reference it comes from, which says the remainder were on special mathematical subjects or non-mathematical ones. I assume that the non-mathematical ones were on strategy for the USAF. There were also some on philosophy and meteorology. Hawkeye7 (talk) 21:20, 22 August 2016 (UTC)