Budapest: The Golden Years

2 October 2007 at 8:58 am 2 comments

| Peter Klein |

My paternal grandparents were Hungarian émigrés so I tend to take an interest in all things Magyar. I was pleased to hear (from Marshall Jevons) about “Budapest: The Golden Years,” a panel discussion at this year’s Neumann Memorial Lectures at Princeton. “The panel will use their familiarity with the life, times, and person of John von Neumann to explore the circumstances of his education and upbringing, as well as those of the many other creative and productive mathematicians and scientists from that time and place.” The discussion revolves around Tibor Frank’s paper on Hungarian exiles, “The Social Construction of Hungarian Genius, 1867–1930,” exploring the background of famous twentieth-century Hungarian scientists like von Neumann, Edward Teller, and Leo Szilard, along with Karl and Michael Polanyi and many others.

Hungary has produced some decent economists too: John Harsányi and Janos Kornai come to mind. George Stigler was half Hungarian, and both of Milton Friedman’s parents were born in Carpatho-Ruthenia, then part of Hungary (now in Ukraine).

Here’s a page celebrating Hungarian Nobel Laureates. Here are some von Neumann jokes. Here is Oskar Morgenstern’s account of his collaboration with von Neumann (but see this third-party account which gives Morgenstern a smaller role).

Entry filed under: - Klein -, Ephemera.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Bart  |  3 October 2007 at 2:53 am

    Don’t leave out Peter Bauer?

  • 2. Peter Klein  |  3 October 2007 at 8:44 am

    Thanks. I should also have included Nicholas Kaldor.

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