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By Constance Reid

"It provides a delicate portrait of a superb person. It describes appropriately and intelligibly on a nontechnical point the realm of mathematical principles within which Hilbert created his masterpieces. And it illuminates the history of German social historical past opposed to which the drama of Hilberts existence was once performed. past this, it's a poem in compliment of mathematics." -SCIENCE

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Ursula Drews, the secretary of the Institute, used to be such a lot beneficial. Irma Neumann, whose mom used to be the Hilbert's well-loved housekeeper for a few years, shared with me the Hilbert relatives photos. precise thank you are because of my sister, Julia Robinson, who by no means faltered in supplying tips, suggestion and encouragement; to Volker Strassen, who brought me to Gottingen and its mathematical culture; to Ursula Lawrenz, Christa Strassen and Edith Fried, who supplemented my wisdom of German and of Germany. It makes me more than happy that the booklet is being released via Springer-Verlag, who had shut ties with Hilbert and Gottingen and who, by means of taking the dangers of book, considerably contributed to the revival of German technological know-how after the 1st global conflict. The manuscript has been learn at numerous levels by way of Paul Bernays, Richard Courant, Paul Ewald, Lothar Nordheim, Julia Robinson, R. M. Robinson, Volker Strassen, Gabor Szego, John Addison Jr. , and Max Born. finally this very beneficiant tips, any blunders which stay are most probably my very own. San Francisco, California August three, 1969 Vlll Constance Reid Contents I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX X XI XII XIII XIV XV XVI XVII XVIII XIX XX XXI XXII XXIII XXIV XXV formative years associates and lecturers ................................................... . healthcare professional of Philosophy .................................................. . Paris ....................................................................... . Gordan's challenge ...................................................... . alterations ................................................................... . in basic terms quantity Fields .................................................... . Tables, Chairs, and Beer Mugs ....................................... . difficulties .................................................................. . the way forward for arithmetic .......................................... . the hot Century ...................................................... . moment adolescence ............................................................ . The Passionate clinical lifestyles ......................................... . area, Time and quantity ............................................. . buddies and scholars .................................................. . Physics .................................................................... . struggle ........................................................................ . the rules of arithmetic ................................... . the hot Order ......................................................... . The countless! Borrowed Time ......................................................... . common sense and the knowledge of Nature ........................... . Exodus .................................................................... . Age ........................................................................ . the ultimate .......................................................... . 1 nine 15 22 28 39 forty seven fifty seven sixty five seventy four eighty four ninety one 102 III 117 one hundred twenty five 137 148 158 168 178 one hundred ninety 198 206 216 IX Konigsberg and GOttingen An Album Otto Hilbert, father of David Hilbert, as a school scholar in 1850 The Konigsberg cathedral (reprinted from Ostprellssen, Westprellssen, Danzig, Grafe und Unzer Verlag, Miinchen) The Pregel river with the Konigsberg citadel within the history (reprinted from Ostpreussen, Westpreussen, Danzig, Grafe und Unzer Verlag, Miinchen) Hermann Minkowski whilst he received the prize of the Paris Academy Adolf Hurwitz as an Extraordinarius in Konigsberg Davia Hilbert, 1886 David Hilbere and Kaehe Jerosch, 1892 Felix Klein in the course of his Leipzig days David Hilbert, c.

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