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Published on Oct 20, 2009
KURT GÖDEL AND THE LIMITS OF MATHEMATICS - Professor Mark Colyvan, Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Sydney Centre for the Foundations of Science Kurt Gödel was one of the foremost mathematicians and logicians of the 20th century. He proved a number of extremely surprising results about the limitations of mathematics. Perhaps the most significant of these is his celebrated incompleteness theorem, which tells us that there are mathematical "blind spots": parts of mathematics that traditional methods of proof cannot access. These results are thought by many to have far-reaching consequences for computing and for our understanding of the nature of the human mind. Gödel's results have thus been the subject of a great deal of popular attention. Indeed, few other results in the history of mathematics have had such an impact outside of mathematics. For those of us who have never heard of Gödel, this lecture will give an accessible outline of his work and achievements.