This book review was written by Eugene Kernes

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**Excerpts**“Von Neumann himself attributed his generation’s success to ‘a coincidence of some cultural factors’ that produced ‘a feeling of extreme insecurity in the individuals, and the necessity to produce the unusual or face extinction’. In other words, their recognition that the tolerant climate of Hungary might change overnight propelled some to preternatural efforts to succeed. Physics and mathematics were safe choices for Jews who wished to excel: an academic career could be pursued in many countries, and the subjects were viewed - in the early twentieth century, at least – as relatively harmless. Moreover, one could reasonably hope that good work in these fields would be fairly rewarded. The truth of general relatively was established through experiment and was not contingent on whether the person who developed the theory was Jew or Gentile.’” – Ananyo Bhattacharya, Chapter 1: Made in Budapest, Page 20

“A failure to adequately account for this meant that early
efforts to calculate trajectories were wildly off, and shells flew far beyond
their intended targets. Throw in some
more complications – a moving target, boggy ground and so forth – and the
equations of motion often become impossible to solve exactly (in mathematical
terms they become ‘non-linear’), forcing mathematicians to approximate. That required arithmetic and lots of it:
hundreds of multiplications for a single trajectory. What was needed, but not available (yet), was
a device able to perform such calculations accurately at the rate of thousands
per second. Some of the earliest
room-sized computers would be built to solve exactly this problem.” – Ananyo
Bhattacharya, Chapter 4: Project Y and the Super, Page 79

“Von Neumann was irked when newspapers reported
that he had received the medal for showing that a ‘miss was better than a
hit’. He had actually discovered that
large bombs cause far more damage over a wider area when they are detonated in
the air above their target than on the ground.
The principle was well known, but von Neumann showed that the effect of
an airburst was much higher than previously thought, and he improved the
accuracy of the calculations to determine the optimal altitude of a bomb’s detonation.”
– Ananyo Bhattacharya, Chapter 4: Project Y and the Super, Page 90

**Review****Is This An Overview?**

John von Neumann’s logic and mathematic skill effected
civilization. Brought up in a culture
that prioritized intellectual ability.
Abilities that were used in the development of game theory, a method of
making decisions based on how everyone is affected by a decision reacts to the
decision. Game theory was used in
understanding war decisions. John von
Neumann participated in the war effort, and was part of the development of
bombs and improved their trajectory accuracy.
Developments which enabled the foundation of computers, and artificial
intelligence.

**Caveats?**

Much of the book is a description of various forms of
mathematics, that would be better understood by those who already know the
complexity of mathematics.

**Questions to Consider while Reading the Book**

*Book Details*