The Institute for Advanced Study: Publications of Members 1930-1954.

Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1955.

First edition of this bibliography of members of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, published on the 25th anniversary of the Institute’s foundation. This is a remarkable copy, inscribed and signed by the great mathematician and computer pioneer John von Neumann, as well as by Oswald Veblen, the first person (together with Albert Einstein) appointed to the Faculty of Mathematics at the Institute, and by the great Göttingen mathematician Hermann Weyl, who was offered but declined the faculty position at the Institute subsequently given to Von Neumann, which he held from 1933 until his death in 1957 (Weyl joined the Institute faculty six months later). Robbert Dijkgraaf, the current director of the Institute, has stated that Von Neumann was “perhaps an even greater genius than Einstein” (quoted in Abraham Flexner’s The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge, Princeton University Press, 2017). “In a memoir written for the American Philosophical Society, Professor Eugene Wigner, von Neumann's close friend since their high school days in Budapest [and a Nobel Laureate], declared: “His accomplishments were manifold, his was a great mind – perhaps one of the greatest of the first half of this century”” (Leitch, A Princeton Companion, 1978). “Accepting an invitation from Oswald Veblen to lecture on quantum theory at Princeton University, John von Neumann was one of a group of Hungarian and Jewish intellectuals to escape to the United States from the turmoil of Europe. During the war, von Neumann’s intellect tackled hydrodynamics, ballistics, meteorology, game theory, and statistics, applying mathematical rigor to practical problems in these fields. He worked on the Manhattan Project and by the latter years of World War II was a consultant to several government committees, moving between groups of scientists in government, university, and industry research laboratories. His broad perspective allowed him to envision applications for computers beyond that of speedy calculating devices, and he initiated the Electronic Computer Project at the Institute” (ias.edu/scholars/von-neumann). Books inscribed by Von Neumann are of the utmost rarity on the market. This is the first one we have handled. Provenance: John von Neumann (inscription ‘With many thanks and wishes for all the best’ in his hand and signature ‘John von Neumann’ on front free endpaper); mathematicians Oswald Veblen, Hermann Weyl, Deane Montgomery and Institute librarian Judith E. Sachs (signatures on front free endpaper).

“On May 20, 1930, a certificate of incorporation for the “Institute for Advanced Study—Louis Bamberger and Mrs. Felix Fuld Foundation” was filed with the State of New Jersey. Brother-and-sister philanthropists Louis and Caroline Bamberger provided the founding $5 million gift to establish an institution dedicated to the vision of education reformer Abraham Flexner, the Institute’s founding Director: “The Institute should be small and plastic (that is flexible); it should be a haven where scholars and scientists could regard the world and its phenomena as their laboratory, without being carried off in the maelstrom of the immediate; it should be simple, comfortable, quiet without being monastic or remote; it should be afraid of no issue; yet it should be under no pressure from any side which might tend to force its scholars to be prejudiced either for or against any particular solution of the problems under study; and it should provide the facilities, the tranquility, and the time requisite to fundamental inquiry into the unknown. Its scholars should enjoy complete intellectual liberty and be absolutely free from administrative responsibilities or concerns.”

“In the autumn of 1932, Flexner announced the creation of the Institute’s first school, the School of Mathematics, and its first Faculty appointments, Oswald Veblen and Albert Einstein. On October 11, 1932, when the New York Times announced the appointment of Einstein to the embryonic Institute, it reported that the founders’ intention was to establish a “scholar’s paradise” …

“Founded against the backdrop of the rise of Fascism, the Institute became a lifeline in the migration of European scholars to the United States. After Adolf Hitler became Chancellor in January 1933, Hermann Weyl, the mathematician who had succeeded David Hilbert to the world’s most prestigious chair in mathematics at the University of Göttingen, crossed the Atlantic to join the Institute. That same year, Flexner recruited John von Neumann, a young but already renowned mathematician who had fled Europe and was then a visiting professor at Princeton University” (ias.edu/about/mission-history).

Born on December 28, 1903, the son of a well-to-do banker in Budapest, Von Neumann’s exceptional mathematical gifts were recognised in high school. After receiving his PhD from the University of Budapest, he continued his research at Göttingen, Hamburg and Berlin. “In 1929 von Neumann accepted an invitation to come to Princeton as a visiting professor for one term. Given a continuing half-time appointment the following year, he spent one term each year in Princeton and one in Germany until 1933 when, at the age of 30, he accepted appointment as the youngest and one of the first professors in the newly founded Institute for Advanced Study. In 1937 he became a United States citizen.

“Von Neumann’s brilliant work in mathematics also carried him into theoretical economics and technology as well as theoretical physics – areas where he was able to make vital contributions not only to science but also to the welfare of his adopted country. His work in quantum mechanics gave him a profound knowledge concerning the application of nuclear energy to military and peacetime uses, enabling him to occupy an important place in the scientific councils of the nation. During the Second World War, he played a major role among the Los Alamos group of scientists who developed the atomic bomb. After the war he served on the advisory committee of the Atomic Energy Commission and on the commission itself from 1954 until his death.

“In collaboration with the University’s Class of 1913 Professor of Political Economy, Oskar Morgenstern, he developed further the interest in game theory he had first evidenced in a treatise published in 1928. Their joint endeavors resulted in Theory of Games and Economic Behavior (published by Princeton University Press in 1944), which aimed to demonstrate that “the typical problems of economic behavior become strictly identical with the mathematical notions of suitable games of strategy.” The theory was also considered of value for the study of government and sociology and for its application to problems of military strategy by the United States.

“Probably the best known and most dramatic of von Neumann’s accomplishments was his development of one of the speediest, most accurate, and most useful computers, which made the essential calculations that enabled the United States to build and test its first full model of the hydrogen bomb” (Leitch, A Princeton Companion, 1978). “Through a chance encounter, von Neumann engaged with a team of engineers in the University of Pennsylvania's Moore School of Electrical Engineering. J. Presper Eckert and John W. Mauchly were constructing an Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC) under the leadership of J. G. Brainerd. Herman H. Goldstine, a mathematician and Reserve Officer of the Ordnance Department who was the army liaison to the Moore School, recognized von Neumannalready famous for his contributions to mathematics, physics, and economicson a railway platform in 1944. Goldstine approached, introduced himself and, after a brief conversation, invited von Neumann to Philadelphia.

“Even as the ENIAC was being constructed, its successor was being designed … In the spring of 1945, von Neumann drafted a document that described the logical structure of a desired high-speed automatic digital computing system powerful enough to solve complex mathematical problems, such as non linear partial differential equations (of two or three independent variables), in abstract terms drawn from biology. The abstraction freed the concepts of the nascent computer from the constraints posed by the technology of the era and, ultimately, stimulated the growth of that technology. Von Neumann's logical schema served as the basis for subsequent stored-program computers. In identifying the organs required as those relating to arithmetic, memory, control, and input and output devices, subsequently known as von Neumann Architecture, he laid down the basic schema of the modern computer” (ias.edu/electronic-computer-project).”

“As a student at the University of Gottingen, Weyl (1885-1955) came under the influence of David Hilbert. In 1913 he became professor of mathematics at the Technische Hochschule, Zürich, where he was a colleague of Albert Einstein. The outstanding characteristic of Weyl’s work was his ability to unite previously unrelated subjects. In Die Idee der Riemannschen Fläche (1913; The Concept of a Riemann Surface), he created a new branch of mathematics by uniting function theory and geometry and thereby opening up the modern synoptic view of analysis, geometry, and topology. The outgrowth of a course of lectures on relativity, Weyl’s Raum, Zeit, Materie (1918; “Space, Time, Matter”) reveals his keen interest in philosophy and embodies the bulk of his findings on relativity. He produced the first unified field theory for which Maxwell’s equations of electromagnetic fields and the gravitational field appear as geometric properties of space-time … Around this time (and influenced by the work of French mathematician Elié Cartan), Weyl attempted a unified field theory to unite electromagnetism and gravitation, in which he introduced the concept of gauge invariance, which describes how some quantities do not change despite a transformation in the underlying field and which became important in later particle physics. From 1923 to 1938 Weyl evolved a general theory of continuous groups, using matrix representations. He found that most of the regularities of quantum phenomena on the atomic level can be most simply understood by using group theory. With the findings published in Gruppentheorie und Quantenmechanik (1928; “Group Theory and Quantum Mechanics”), Weyl helped mould modern quantum theory. Weyl was appointed professor of mathematics at the University of Göttingen in 1930. The Nazi dismissal of many of his colleagues prompted him to leave Germany in 1933 and accept a position at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton; he became a U.S. citizen in 1939. After his retirement in 1951, Weyl remained professor emeritus of the institute and divided his time between Princeton and Zürich” (Britannica).

“A pioneer in the mathematical field of topology, Oswald Veblen was one of the first Faculty of the Institute for Advanced Study, serving from 1933 until his death in 1960. Prior to joining the Institute, Veblen was a faculty member of Princeton University’s Department of Mathematics for twenty-seven years, where he was committed to improving research conditions in mathematics in the United States. He built Princeton University’s mathematics department into one of eminence in the United States and subsequently had enormous influence on the development of the Institute’s School of Mathematics” (ias.edu/scholars/veblen). 

Deane Montgomery (1909-92) obtained his Ph.D. in 1933 with a thesis on point-set topology. After periods at Harvard and Princeton, he was appointed assistant professor at Smith College, rising to become full professor in 1941. During the War he worked with John von Neumann on numerical analysis. He became a permanent member at the Institute for Advanced Study in 1948, and professor in 1951, and remained there until 1988. In 1952, in collaboration with Andrew Gleason and Leo Zippin, Montgomery gave the solution to Hilbert’s Fifth Problem.



4to (278 x 218 mm), pp. 270. Original publisher’s cloth, spine lettered in gilt. Fine.

Item #4331

Price: $10,000.00

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