Dangerous Knowledge

In this 90-minute BBC doc­u­men­tary, Dan­ger­ous Knowl­edge, David Mal­one takes a close look at four math­e­mati­cians — Georg Can­tor, Lud­wig Boltz­mann, Kurt Gödel and Alan Tur­ing – whose think­ing pro­found­ly influ­enced mod­ern math­e­mat­ics but also drove them (or so the pro­gram argues) to insan­i­ty and even­tu­al­ly sui­cide. Can­tor gave us “set the­o­ry.” Boltz­mann made impor­tant con­tri­bu­tions in the fields of sta­tis­ti­cal mechan­ics and sta­tis­ti­cal ther­mo­dy­nam­ics. Gödel is remem­bered for his incom­plete­ness the­o­rems. Tur­ing built on Gödel’s work and laid the foun­da­tion for com­put­er sci­ence. They all spent their dif­fi­cult final years in var­i­ous states of men­tal decline.

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