A brilliant man!

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
I have the burning desire in me to tell you the great history of John von Neumann, the leading mathematician of the 20th century.
Yes, I have a burning desire and that is because of the tremendous importance that Johnny has had on our technology and mathematics and science thanks to his tremendous and numerous contributions to almost any field of mathematics and science.
It is horrible to notice how little we are aware today of Johnny, of his achievements, of his contributions, of his drive, of his kindness, of his patience, of his performance and abilities that were clearly beyond human and the fact that this man gives up riddles in the way that we may ask ourselves what sort of brain that he must have had to be able to accomplish his abilities and I clearly don’t want to reduce John to his brain because he was so much more, he was a fantastic work colleague, he was a fantastic pioneer, he was one of the few creative mathematicians, he was brought to life the technology that you are using to read this.

Submitted: December 18, 2019

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Submitted: December 18, 2019

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Johnny the Mathematician

Flash Fiction by Gilbert Zenner

18/12/2019

 

1000+ words

 

Good day, I have the burning desire in me to tell you the great history of John von Neumann, the leading mathematician of the 20th century.

Yes, I have a burning desire and that is because of the tremendous importance that Johnny has had on our technology and mathematics and science thanks to his tremendous and numerous contributions to almost any field of mathematics and science.

It is horrible to notice how little we are aware today of Johnny, of his achievements, of his contributions, of his drive, of his kindness, of his patience, of his performance and abilities that were clearly beyond human and the fact that this man gives up riddles in the way that we may ask ourselves what sort of brain that he must have had to be able to accomplish his abilities and I clearly don’t want to reduce John to his brain because he was so much more, he was a fantastic work colleague, he was a fantastic pioneer, he was one of the few creative mathematicians, he was brought to life the technology that you are using to read this.

Einstein is superbly well known, and wrongly credited. Take away that Einstein never received the Nobel Prize of Physics for his Theory of Relativity (Special and General) but for his proof of the Photo-Electric Effect, which means that material ejects electrons if it is hit by a light-beam and the photons that make up the light use their energy to hit the electrons out of the material and the kinetic energy of the kicked-out energy, i.e. the kinetic energy that they have after leaving the material is KE_electron = h*f-BE were h*f is the energy of the photon and BE is the Binding Energy, i.e. the energy with which the electrons were being trapped inside the material and from which only the h*f energy of the photon may liberate them. Lower capital h is the Planksche Constant and f is the frequency of the photon which determines its energy.

 

So much to Einstein. A bit little but we are here to write about Johnny.

 

He is almost unknown and this is a very wrong circumstance and I am writing this essay to inform you and everybody else about him.

 

Why is Johnny important?

His work on almost every field of science is ground-breaking, pioneering, breath-taking, it is really important.

 

It is sad that nobody knows about him.

 

So I have to do the work and let me start with his academic work when he was already in his mid-twenties, when most of you just finish university, Johnny was an established mathematician, had been a Privatdozent in Germany and was emigrating to the U.S. to work there as a scientist.

 

Johnny was constructed the Von-Neumann-Architecture, named after him, which became the foundation of the modern computer.

Back then, computers were still gigantic, the size of Hall-rooms and instead of our modern transfer-resistor we used Vacuum Tubes, quite big things, like the size of a water-boiler, and we used tens of thousands of them in a computer and almost at every moment some of them went broken and had to be replaced and it took then competent mathematicians and physicists and engineers to construct a design, i.e. an assembly of electronic parts that at least was able to compute well and in that way make the whole cost and effort of buying and replacing vacuum tubes worth it.

This construction, i.e. this plan-making was inaccessible to laymen. You needed a team of academic specialists to fathom the assemblies that would yield a computing machine. It is also from the era that we can understand in the most profound way the meaning of the term “computing machine”, now called computer. Back then, we really used computers to really compute data and not to display videos or images. The whole experience of the computing machine is a different one than that of the computer and this era is very much worth visiting.

 

Yes, we needed specialists and those specialists had to start from the very bottom, no computing machine had ever been built before and the task had a tremendous complexity to itself, there was no idea at all how such an assembly would be composed, i.e. what parts would be in it and how they could be built technically.

It was Johnny’s idea to save the programs inside the memory of the computing machine and this idea was perfectly right and it was as right as it was simple and ingenious and ground-breaking.

This idea is part of your computer. You call that memory either your SSD-drive or your RAM memory.

It is hard to put the gravity of Johnny’s idea into the correct words. You have to realize how much this changes both the hardware of the computer, the possibilities of the computer and also thereby the state-of-art of what a computer was.

Let me explain. To fully understand you need to see what computers were like before Johnny implemented his idea of a separated memory that would save the programs.

Technicians had to re-arrange vacuum-tubes, thousands of them, in order to create a program. Yes, that was the way and the only way.

And for every set of instructions (= program), you needed to re-arrange the tubes.

Do you see the enormous amount of work, time and effort needed to yield a few simple programs? And our time is limited...things had to change.

And they changed, thanks to Johnny.

From now on, sets of instructions of any length and complexity could be saved on a storage device and could be loaded during run-time and could even be changed on the storage.

From now on you could have millions of programs at your fingertips!!!

That is obviously groundbreaking!

 

Johnny is best described as filled with talent, drive, ambition, clarity.

He made himself remarkable from a very early age on, reciting jokes in Greek at home at the age of three, he loved calculating large numbers in his head at such an early age, at age 6 he was able to perform almost-instant divisions of two 8-digit numbers in his mind, he entertained guests early on by learning phone-books by heart and then being able to recite phone-numbers on demand.

He was obviously very intellectual from an early age on.

He studied infinitesimal calculus at the age of 9 and was sent to a private teacher at the age of 15.

 

His teachers recognized his genius instantly and he made himself a name right from the start.

 

He was born into a Jewish family that did not practice its religion strictly and later on he took over catholic religion.

 

He has a daughter named Marina Whitman von Neumann.

 

He was born on December 28th 1903 in Budapest, Hungary.

 

He was popular at school and had a check-list of all the topics and domains that he was eager to master.

 

Johnny was a life-long learner, he worked everyday for long hours on his subjects, he worked with tremendous energy, he was an extrovert, he had a tremendous respect for his colleagues, he was always there to help them with their work, he had a gift for quickly understanding theories made by colleagues and for providing them with models that obeyed their theories.

It is all a bit hard to describe. Just know that John was superbly useful and productive.

He had a great skill at translating ideas from one domain to other domains, this way he could easily bring different people together to work on the same subject. We would not have our modern world had we not had Johnny.

I have intended this Book to be a fiery tribute to this great man, in many ways my idol, a man I look up to. He had the right approach to his work, focussed on facts and clear thoughts and expertise and a mastery of his subject and he was never lost at trivial work, no, he continuously worked on cutting-edge work that brought progress to our world and he was polite and helpful all the way through and that is one of the big reasons why I intend to be like him.

This book is going to be huge, it is going to be complete and for it to be complete and I am going to showcase now a structure of what I put in, I focus on his academic work and also on his education and I will only mention his private life on the margin because it really does not matter here.

This book is about an intellectual and academic over-achiever, a truly important man.

 

John worked a great deal in Los Alamos on the research and construction of the nuclear bombs that would finally be thrown down upon Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

He had the idea of causing an implosion that would push the particles together, creating the much bigger nuclear explosion.

In simple terms, John made the bomb much more powerful.

By causing an implosion. There was a discussion which method to use to increase the strength of the explosion and John’s method proved to be the best.

 

I am not proud of John’s work on the bomb. In fact, I hate his work there. But this book is going to be complete, so I write it down anyway.

 

Los Alamos was the place where scientists worked on plans to win WWII, mainly they worked on the nuclear bomb. It was a big place in the desert, it was a huge collective hub for scientists, all experts in their fields. Much work was done there and I am going to make research to be able to tell you in truthful details what exactly was done there and by whom.

 

 

 

 

THE END


© Copyright 2020 GilbertZenner. All rights reserved.

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