All posts tagged: Los Alamos National Laboratory

The Smartest Man Who Ever Lived

The Smartest Man Who Ever Lived

If the most dangerous invention to emerge from World War II was the atomic bomb, the computer now seems to be running a close second, thanks to recent developments in artificial intelligence. Neither the bomb nor the computer can be credited to, or blamed on, any single scientist. But if you trace the stories of these two inventions back far enough, they turn out to intersect in the figure of John von Neumann, the Hungarian-born polymath sometimes described as the smartest man who ever lived. Though he is less famous today than some of his contemporaries—Albert Einstein, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Richard Feynman—many of them regarded him as the most impressive of all. Hans Bethe, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1967, remarked: “I have sometimes wondered whether a brain like von Neumann’s does not indicate a species superior to that of man.” Explore the November 2023 Issue Check out more from this issue and find your next story to read. View More Born in Budapest in 1903, von Neumann came to the U.S. …