chapter  1
4 Pages

Introduction

In 1931 there appeared in a German scientific periodical a relatively short paper with the forbidding title “Uber formal unentscheidbare Sätze der Principia Mathematica und verwandter Systeme” (“On Formally Undecidable Propositions of Principia Mathematica and Related Systems”). Its author was Kurt Gödel, then a young mathematician of 25 at the University of Vienna and since 1938 a permanent member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton. The paper is a milestone in the history of logic and mathematics. When Harvard University awarded Gödel an honorary degree in 1952, the citation described the work as one of the most important advances in logic in modern times.