Gödel, Godel, Goedel, Kurt, Vienna, Wien, Cafe Reichsrat, 1930, Podnieks, Karlis

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NEW! Richard Zach found the exact location of Cafe Reichsrat!

Visiting Gödel in Vienna

Prof. Karlis Podnieks
University of Latvia

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License and is copyrighted © 2010-2014 by me, Karlis Podnieks.

Part 1. September 2010: Searching for Cafe Reichsrat

Part 2. December 2012: Visiting Gödel Places in Vienna

Vienna: Searching for Cafe Reichsrat

Kurt Gödel proved his Incompleteness Theorem in Vienna, during the summer of 1930, and he first told about it to his colleagues on Tuesday, August 26 at the Cafe Reichsrat:




Picture #054 from the excellent gallery published by BVI.

[According to Carnap's diary], "...Carnap was probably the first one to learn about the [Gödel's] results on August 26, 1930 during a conversation at the Cafe Reichsrat in Vienna [Austria]. Feigl was apparently also there and Waismann joined the the group later that afternoon."

Full text: Paolo Mancosu. Between Vienna and Berlin: The Immediate Reception of Godel's Incompleteness Theorems. History and Philosophy of Logic, 1999, Vol.20, N1, pp.33-45 (available online from Taylor & Francis Group).

For an attempt of a detailed reconstruction of the meeting, see

John L. Casti. The One True Platonic Heaven: A Scientific Fiction on the Limits of Knowledge. The National Academies Press, 2003, 224 pp.

Cafe Reichsrat does not exist any more, how to locate it in Vienna now?

I knew about the problem from
Godel's Viennese Hangouts -- Cafes Arkaden, Josephinum and Reichsrat by Paul Raymont.

So, visiting Vienna, I decided to follow the directions...

September 10, 2010: the same door?




I took this picture September 10, 2010 sitting at the table in the patio of a wonderful Wiener Cafe – Cafe Conditorei Sluka at Rathausplatz 8. The door resembles, indeed, the one on the old photo.



But there is another similar door...




nearby in the same building that is more likely the true door of the former Cafe Reichsrat.

[Added July 25, 2014] Richard Zach found the exact location of Cafe Reichsrat!

Part 2. December 2012:
Visiting Gödel Places in Vienna

Florianigasse 42 (student)

Währinger Strasse 31-33 (student)

Lange Gasse 72 (completeness, Adele)

Josefstädterstrasse 41-43 (incompleteness)

Hegelgasse 5 (leaving Vienna forever)

Cafe Reichsrat, July 15-16, 1927

Gemeinderat Schleifer schreibt:

... Etwa um 3/4 4 Uhr nachmittags begab ich mich mit dem Gemeinderat Reismann vom Parlament zu der von einer Sanitätskolonne des Schutzbundes im Café Reichsrat errichteten Sanitätsstation. Obgleich vor dem Kaffeehause eine rote Fahne mit dem weißen Kreuz gehißt war, wurde von der Polizei auch diese Sanitätsstation beschossen. Während unserer Anwesenheit erhielt ein Sanitätsmann, der beim Kaffeehauseingang stand, einen Bauchschuß.”

Full text:

Karl Kraus: Vor der Walpurgisnacht - Aufsätze 1925-1936 – Kapitel 9: Der Hort der Republik. Projekt Gutenberg-DE, SPIEGEL-ONLINE.

See also: Julirevolte in Wien.

A chronology of some facts about the

Turning point in the human intellectual history

1930


August

September

October

November

Mo

28

4

11

18

25

1

8

15

22

29

6

13

20

27

3

10

17

24

Tu

29

5

12

19

26

2

9

16

23

30

7

14

21

28

4

11

18

25

We

30

6

13

20

27

3

10

17

24

1

8

15

22

29

5

12

19

26

Th

31

7

14

21

28

4

11

18

25

2

9

16

23

30

6

13

20

27

Fr

1

8

15

22

29

5

12

19

26

3

10

17

24

31

7

14

21

28

Sa

2

9

16

23

30

6

13

20

27

4

11

18

25

1

8

15

22

29

Su

3

10

17

24

31

7

14

21

28

5

12

19

26

2

9

16

23

30

 

April 28, 1906

Gödel, Kurt born

1929

Gödel proves his Completeness Theorem (completeness of the axioms of first order predicate logic) as part of his doctoral dissertation.

July 6, 1929

Gödel' s doctoral dissertation approved by Hans Hahn and Philipp Furtwängler.

October 22, 1929

Gödel's paper about Completeness Theorem received at "Monatshefte für Mathematik und Physik" (published in 1930).

February 6, 1930

Doctor's degree granted to Gödel at the University of Vienna

Summer, 1930

Gödel arrived at the Incompleteness Theorem. "In summer 1930 I began to study the consistency problem of classical analysis... I reached the conclusion that in any reasonable formal system in which provability in it can be expressed as a property of certain sentences, there must be propositions which are undecidable in it." (From Godel's late reminiscencies, reported in: Hao Wang. A logical Journey: from Gödel to Philosophy. MIT Press, 1996.)

Tuesday, August 26

[According to Carnap's diary], "...Carnap was probably the first one to learn about the [Gödel's] results on August 26, 1930 during a conversation at the Cafe Reichsrat in Vienna [Austria]. Feigl was apparently also there and Waismann joined the the group later that afternoon." (from Mancosu [1999]).

August 29

A second discussion at the Cafe Reichrat. (Dawson [1997]).

September 3

Vienna, Stettiner Bahnhof: Carnap, Feigl, Godel and Waismann start their travel to Königsberg (Dawson [1997]).

Saturday, September 6,
3 - 3:20 pm

Gödel's talk about Completeness Theorem at the Conference on Epistemology of the Exact Sciences (Königsberg, Germany).

Sunday, September 7

... at a meeting in Königsberg... Gödel off-handedly announced his epic [incompleteness] results during a round-table discussion. Only von Neumann immediately grasped their significance... (from G.J.Chaitin's lecture, Buenos Aires, 1998). More details in Dawson [1997].

Monday, September 8

Wir müssen wissen -- wir werden wissen! David Hilbert's Radio Broadcast in Königsberg (for details – see below).

September

Gödel and von Neumann arrived, independently, at Gödel's Second Incompleteness Theorem (about unprovability of consistency). (Dawson [1997])

October 23, 1930

Gödel's Abstract presented by Hans Hahn at a section meeting of the Vienna Academy of Sciences (see "Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien, Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Klasse, Anzeiger", 1930, N 76, pp.214-215).

November 17, 1930

Gödel's famous paper received at "Monatshefte für Mathematik und Physik" (published in 1931).

K. Gödel [1931] Über formal unentscheidbare Sätze der Principia Mathematica und verwandter Systeme. "Monatshefte für Mathematik und Physik", 1931, Vol. 38, pp. 173-198.

Wir müssen wissen -- wir werden wissen! David Hilbert's Radio Broadcast, Königsberg, 8 September 1930 (audio record published by James T.Smith, and translations in 7 languages published by Laurent Siebenmann). "...according to Gödel's biographer John Dawson, Hilbert and Gödel never discussed it, they never spoke to each other. The story is so dramatic that it resembles fiction. They were both at a meeting in Königsberg in September 1930. On September 7th Gödel off-handedly announced his epic results during a round-table discussion. Only von Neumann immediately grasped their significance... The very next day, September 8th, Hilbert delivered his famous lecture on ``Logic and the understanding of nature.'' As is touchingly described by Hilbert's biographer Constance Reid (see Reid [1996] - K.P.), this was the grand finale of Hilbert's career and his last major public appearance. Hilbert's lecture ended with his famous words: ``Wir muessen wissen. Wir werden wissen.'' We must know! We shall know!" (from a G.J.Chaitin's lecture, Buenos Aires, 1998).

"Historians and Mathematicians agree, 1930 was Gödel’s most profound year – if one was to include the latter part of 1929 as well. It is in this year that Gödel states he first heard of Hilbert’s proposed outline of a proof of the continuum hypotheses. In the summer, Gödel began work on trying to prove the relative consistency of analysis. Gödel soon discovered that truth in number theory is undefinable – he later went on to prove a combinational form of the Incompleteness Theorem.

In 1930, Gödel traveled several days to attend the Second Conference on Epistemology of the Exact Sciences (September 5-7). Towards the end of the Conference on the last day, Gödel spoke for the first time and, "criticized the formalist assumption that consistency of ‘transfinite’ axioms assures the nonderivability of any consequence that is ‘contentually false.’ He concluded, ‘For of no formal system can one affirm with certainty that all contentual considerations are representable in it.’ And then v. Neumann interjected, ‘It is not a foregone conclusion whether all rules of inference that are intuitionistically permissible may be formally reproduced.’" It was after this statement, that Gödel made the announcement of his incompleteness result, "Under the assumption of the consistency of classical mathematics, one can give examples of propositions…that are contentually true, but are unprovable in the formal system of classical mathematics." It was these events which preceded the formal 1931 publishing of Gödel’s article Uber formal unentscheidbare Saetze der Principia Mathematica und verwandter Systeme." (A fragment from Gödel, and his Incompleteness Theorem by Mark Wakim).

For a complete biography see

John W. Dawson Jr. Logical Dilemmas. The Life and Work of Kurt Gödel. A. K. Peters, 1997.

Photo gallery by BVI.

Gödel, Godel, Goedel, Kurt, Vienna, Wien, Cafe Reichsrat, 1930, Podnieks, Karlis