von Neumann


If you’re interested in reading a linear biography of von Neumann’s life and accomplishments, read the biographical article “John von Neumann” from the University of St. Andrew’s. The piece includes some fantastic and illuminating quotes from von Neumann’s contemporaries.  

For a biography more focused on von Neumann’s work in the field of computing, read the “John von Neumann” article on History of Computers. The article discusses briefly his work on the EDVAC, cellular automata, algorithms, and memory.

And, if you’re looking for a quick and helpful overview of von Neumann’s contributions to computer science specifically, visit the Wikipedia entry for von Neumann’s work.

For an interesting and thoughtful retrospective of von Neumann’s work, check out Stephen Wolfram’s article on von Neumann, written on what would have been mathematician’s 100th birthday.  Wolfram’s piece attempts a balanced analysis of the areas in which von Neumann was ahead of his time, and the areas in which might actually have impeded later scientific progress; also, Wolfram pieces together von Neumann’s personality through conversations with contemporary scientists, engineers, and mathematicians.

Read a more intimate perspective on von Neumann and his achievements in the transcript of the speech “Life with My Father,” given by economist Marina Whitman Neumann, von Neumann’s only child, in 2005. Whitman’s speech is surprising and engaging, focusing less on von Neumann’s scientific accomplishments than on his ideas and habits.


Watch a biographical video of John von Neumann’s life.

Check out the only surviving footage of von Neumann, when he was profiled in 1956 on the TV show “America’s Youth Wants to Know.”


The Legacy of John von Neumann (partial ebook)

John von Neumann and the Origins of Modern Computing, by William Aspray

Operator Algebras, Quantization and Noncommutative Geometry: A Centennial Celebration Honoring John von Neumann and Marshall H. Stone,  by Neumann, Stone, et. al.

John von Neumann and Marshall H. Stone, p. 1-13