Let’s be fair, though: Kurt Gödel couldn’t have possibly been born into a better family back in 1906. His father Rudolf was an executive director and shareholder in textile company Redlich, a position he had earned through his diligence and skill, having also patented several inventions for machines in the textile industry himself. His mother Marianne came from German-Moravian bourgeoisie and she raised her sons, Kurt and older Rudolf, to respect education and supported their intellectual interests. Simply put, both the boys grew up in a harmonious and financially secure environment.

The years Kurt spent in school were relatively easy and eventless. In 1924, the family moved from #brnoregion to Vienna and young Gödel applied to a local university to study physics. Thanks to several exceptional teachers, he later took up mathematics and philosophy.

Two theorems on incompleteness

In 1931, one year after finishing his doctorate studies, Gödel formulated and proved statements that caused a revolution in science – two theorems on incompleteness. From the first one, it follows that no formal system can be both complete and provable, while from the second one, it follows that it is impossible to prove it within the system.

Simply put, he proved that there will always be some statements that can neither be proved nor disproved. And there will always be some truths that cannot be verified.

These theorems put an end to over 50 years of efforts made by mathematicians to completely formalize mathematics by pointing out the possible existence of unsolvable problems. This discovery created huge waves in the scientific and philosophical communities of the second half of the 20th century and beginning of the 21st century. Among other things, it led directly to the birth of computers. In order to prove these theorems, Gödel further created or developed several mathematical procedures and techniques, such as Gödel numbering, a unique coding system whose parts closely resemble what is today called a programming language for computers.


The woman of his life was Adele Nimbursky, who Gödel met in 1929. They married nine years later, taking those around them by surprise, as Adele was almost 16 years his senior and even divorced. When they met, she was working as a masseuse. Having no interest in science, she adored and protected her extraordinary partner, for example once waving her purse around to drive away a group of Nazi troublemakers who were bothering him. 

Quiet years in Princeton

WW2 forced the Gödels to flee to the USA in 1940. Overseas, Gödel worked as an associate professor and later a professor at the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton. He focused on philosophy and – influenced by his close friend Albert Einstein – expanded that focus to also include physics. The Gödels spent some pleasant years in Princeton, living a quiet life on their own in a small house they bought. Adele was in charge of their household and took care of her husband, always supporting him.

Friendship with Einstein

Gödel and Einstein were famously good friends and another Princeton man, major physicist Freeman Dyson, once said: "Gödel was the only one of our colleagues who walked and talked on equal terms with Einstein."

The level of their intellect was the only thing these geniuses shared, though, as their opinions about everything else differed. Einstein was sociable, cheerful and liked to talk, whereas Gödel was a silent, pessimistic loner. Einstein loved to play the violoncello and adored Beethoven and Mozart. Gödel’s favourite movie was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs by Disney, and when his wife once put a pink flamingo in front of their house, he called it “awfully charming”. Einstein was famous for his love of heavy German cuisine, while Gödel lived off baby food and laxatives. Einstein’s private life wasn’t exactly eventless, while Gödel’s life with Adele was peaceful and exemplary. And even though most of his colleagues considered Gödel a grim weirdo who only dealt in impossible-to-grasp logic, Einstein once said, “I went to the office just to have the privilege of walking home with Kurt Gödel.”

In their shared intellectual isolation, these two found consolation in understanding each other. And as their contemporaries from Princeton confirmed: “They didn’t want to speak to anybody else. They only wanted to speak to each other.” 

Gödel the celebrity

Success did not make life easy for Gödel. He had difficulties handling all the social duties that followed from his position. His exceptional discoveries turned him into a celebrity, but also increased people’s expectations of him. And such pressure didn’t have a good impact on this timid, withdrawn, diligent, even meticulous loner.

Poor health, traumatizing experiences from the Nazi years as well as the pressure to perform resulted in psychosomatic issues that became only more serious as he got older. He believed in ghosts and feared, for no apparent reason, that his fellow scientists wanted to poison him. Therefore, he ate only what his wife prepared for him, as she was the only one he could fully trust. And when Adele couldn’t be around, Kurt didn’t eat at all. In January 1978, he died of exhaustion and malnutrition, being 71 years old and weighing a mere 36 kilograms.

Convinced of the afterlife...

This very weird and sad ending shouldn’t overshadow that Kurt Gödel left behind. He was one of the most significant logicians ever. His two incompleteness theorems are among the most important as well as the most frequently misinterpreted discoveries in logic and mathematics in the 20th century. With these theorems, he laid a solid foundation for mathematical logic, proof theory in mathematics, the theory of time complexity, computer programming, and the basics of mathematics through his set theory.

He added a unique, enriching perspective to Einstein’s general theory of relativity by formulating and discovering a cosmological model of rotating space which enables time travel. Here, he opened a discussion about whether such travel is in conflict with the principles of physics and philosophy and whether it may actually be done – something still being discussed to this day. In 1949, he formulated a cosmological model of space with time loops that would enable people to return to their own past. Based on this, he dealt with the analysis of the term “time” in detail. In the form of a series of formulas with only minimal commentary, he created a logical procedure that specified and complemented the Anselm of Canterbury’s proof of God’s existence. This ontological proof of Gödel’s was published only after his death, and its significance has been discussed by logicians, theologians, and philosophers ever since. Gödel himself described the proof as a type of exercise in using modern means of modal logic.

He was strongly certain of the existence of the afterlife: “I am convinced of the afterlife, independent of theology. If the world is rationally constructed, there must be an afterlife.”

If Kurt was right and there really is the afterlife, that’s where he must be now, in some other dimension… locked in an intense discussion with his good friend Albert. And, just like in real life, they don’t need anyone else.

Let’s hope that’s the case…

12. 02. 2020
Photos: ias.edu, The city of Brno archive

More articles

Give Moravian asparagus a chance! Live

Give Moravian asparagus a chance!

If you can’t get enough asparagus, #brnoregion 200 years ago would have been your paradise! After all, this is where the most delicious asparagus used to be grown – it even made it... READ MORE


This may be your first time hearing of #brnoregion, but there’s certainly a lot to say about it. Sure, it doesn’t evoke the emotions and mental images that “Paris” or “New York” do... READ MORE
Bittersweet beauty from #brnoregion Live

Bittersweet beauty from #brnoregion

During the socialist regime, the efforts made to achieve efficient agriculture and food self-sufficiency ironically did some serious damage to our countryside. One exception of thi... READ MORE
Starting a revolution in the world of water pipes from Brno! Live

Starting a revolution in the world of water pipes from Brno!

Would you believe that the most luxurious water pipes (or at least the first modern ones) come from #brnoregion? Created under the Meduse brand, with their sleek submarine design a... READ MORE
Looking for a family paradise? Welcome to #brnoregion! Live

Looking for a family paradise? Welcome to #brnoregion!

There’s a popular Czech saying: it’s better to let your house burn down than to move. If this tells you anything, it’s that we fully understand the worries involved in moving to a ... READ MORE
Villa Tugendhat – a smarthome of the 20th century Live

Villa Tugendhat – a smarthome of the 20th century

While looking quite discreet from the street, this legendary villa reveals its secrets only once you enter: the feeling of endless space, breathtaking beauty as well as innovations... READ MORE
Who will show me around Brno? Live

Who will show me around Brno?

You’ve decided to visit Brno, packed all the essentials and are more than ready for some exotic experiences. Congratulations! But wait, the most difficult part still lies ahead of ... READ MORE
30 years ago, we beat communism Live

30 years ago, we beat communism

A true miracle happened towards the end of 1989: the communist regime collapsed and the countries of Eastern Europe set out on their path to freedom. And Czechoslovakia was one of ... READ MORE
Ernst Mach - the great teacher of Albert Einstein Live

Ernst Mach - the great teacher of Albert Einstein

He criticised Newton and rejected atomic theory, which he considered merely a product of theoretical physics. He recognized only things that could be proven in a practical experime... READ MORE
World champion from the oldest velodrome in Europe Live

World champion from the oldest velodrome in Europe

What’s the magic of the world’s fastest cycling sport? According to Tomáš Bábek, one of the best sprinters in the world, it’s mainly about overcoming your fear of a bicycle with no... READ MORE
Open Gardens Live

Open Gardens

Open Gardens is an educational and consulting centre located in the centre of Brno where a unique passive house lies, literally, hidden away. It’s the perfect inspiration for build... READ MORE
Czechs – the masters of hiking markers Live

Czechs – the masters of hiking markers

It’s free, healthy, enjoyable, and widely-accessible – what could that be? Hiking! A hobby the Czechs have been enjoying for over a century. And you can tell wherever you go, liter... READ MORE
Saving the rainforests Live

Saving the rainforests

In 2018 alone, around 8 thousand square kilometres of Amazonian rainforest were destroyed, and this number continues to grow at an alarming rate. This largest rainforest in the wor... READ MORE
Mendel is… A beekeeper! Live

Mendel is… A beekeeper!

We think highly of the giants from our region. And since Johann Gregor Mendel is one of the most interesting people to ever live in #brnoregion, we decided to throw him a huge birt... READ MORE
Music as a chemical reaction Live

Music as a chemical reaction

Have you ever wondered what sound carbon would produce? Yes, #brnoregion boasts top-quality research in chemistry, but sometimes we even provide answers to seemingly insane questio... READ MORE
Brno in maps Live

Brno in maps

Find the capital of South Moravia on a map? Easy. But where can you find out which part of the city people feel best in or where the largest number people live at the same place? T... READ MORE
Artist Kateřina Šedá connects people not only in #brnoregion Live

Artist Kateřina Šedá connects people not only in #brnoregion

Despite being a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, Kateřina Šedá’s projects leave her working mainly with people, communities, and relationships. She conducts her soci... READ MORE
Journeys to the Beginning of Time Live

Journeys to the Beginning of Time

#brnoregion – not only hot now for its spirit of science and research, knowledge economy and universities, but equally interesting in the very distant past. If you’re a fan of preh... READ MORE
The air is our sea Live

The air is our sea

The Czech Republic is an aviation superpower. It’s one of a handful of countries that can manufacture an entire airplane – from nose to tail. In fact, the history of Czech as well ... READ MORE
Brno is a great place to do research and raise our daughter Live

Brno is a great place to do research and raise our daughter

Stefania Pagliari and Giancarlo Forte have been living in Brno since 2013 and aren’t planning to leave, not even after their daughter was born here in 2017. READ MORE
Brno Festival wins opera Oscar! Live

Brno Festival wins opera Oscar!

Janáček Brno won The International Opera Award for the best festival of last year. READ MORE
The things they call “impossible” are the most interesting Live

The things they call “impossible” are the most interesting

“A lot of innovations are made by the artists simply trying out various technologies without knowing exactly what they can do,” says Martin Králík from the 3D studio at the Faculty... READ MORE
The best gaming weekend is coming! Live

The best gaming weekend is coming!

Just two weeks from now, the gaming industry’s biggest developers, stars and fans will all come together in Brno to get inspired, share experience, and, above all, have some fun. O... READ MORE
Blue and white fairy-tale from #brnoregion Live

Blue and white fairy-tale from #brnoregion

Around four thousand years ago in far-off Asia, people learned to use the indigo plant to dye fabric. Then, via Silk Road, this art spread to Egypt and – several centuries later – ... READ MORE
From the computer to the stove and global success Live

From the computer to the stove and global success

Food and drinks are our never-ending passion. Just look at how many people – without any experience or relevant education – hurl themselves into the hospitality business and manage... READ MORE
Mendel University celebrates 100 years of stories Live

Mendel University celebrates 100 years of stories

Mendel University is yet another institution to celebrate its 100th birthday this year, as it was established right after independent Czechoslovakia. The celebration in the spirit ... READ MORE
Taste the whole world in #brnoregion Live

Taste the whole world in #brnoregion

Based on an analysis by Bott and Co Solicitors, you can find 94 national cuisines in New York, making it number one in the world. No, #brnoregion isn’t this cosmopolitan, but our s... READ MORE
Too crazy for ordinary sports events? Live

Too crazy for ordinary sports events?

Visit #brnoregion! We are just crazy. But laughter heals! (And strengthens your abs.) Fun is a crucial part of our lives – without it, things would just be boring. Here we love to ... READ MORE
The secret of Czech Christmas Live

The secret of Czech Christmas

Christmas in the Czech Republic may seem the same as in lots of other countries. It’s cold, the city is covered with colourful lights, a decorated Christmas tree, good food, gifts,... READ MORE
What the IT guys in #brnoregion do after work Live

What the IT guys in #brnoregion do after work

It’s always great if you truly enjoy your work, but sometimes it’s also good to take a break and spend some time on something a bit different. Or someone completely different. We w... READ MORE
Who’s changing the world for the better? Live

Who’s changing the world for the better?

Let’s talk about those who like to do things right while improving the world around them, no matter whether they’d like to fight the drought or invest the money into building the c... READ MORE
Do we speak English in #brnoregion? Live

Do we speak English in #brnoregion?

For many companies in #brnoregion, speaking English is completely normal, and – as Austria is so close – lots of us speak German as well. And even if it may not always be simple wi... READ MORE
Petra Střelecká: In Brno, sitting in a café is an experience Live

Petra Střelecká: In Brno, sitting in a café is an experience

Brno is a city of coffee. And top baristas! The baristas from Prague and Brno keep alternating on the first spot in Czech barista competitions. Petra Střelecká is one of them and s... READ MORE
The best climber in the world comes from #brnoregion Live

The best climber in the world comes from #brnoregion

Adam Ondra runs on rocks like a chamois and keeps breaking world records. He creates new grades (currently 9c) and reigns supreme in bouldering, vertical rock climbing and also on ... READ MORE
Long live the Marmalade Queens! Live

Long live the Marmalade Queens!

In #brnoregion we can only dream about trees heavy with juicy lemons and oranges. But this doesn’t stop us from making some of the best marmalades in the world! How is that possibl... READ MORE
In Vino Veritas in #brnoregion Live

In Vino Veritas in #brnoregion

Do you feel like having a glass of wine (or two, three, ehm…) from time to time? Right now? Cool! In that case #brnoregion is the right place for you because here you come across w... READ MORE
Gaming stars are coming to Brno Live

Gaming stars are coming to Brno

The third annual game developers conference and festival, Game Access ‘18, is about to kick off in Brno. Beyond novelties from the digital gaming world, it also promises its attend... READ MORE
Brno as the capital of European coffee culture Live

Brno as the capital of European coffee culture

Premium coffee is a huge trend all around Europe, but Brno is closer to it more than anyone else. That’s because we have been drinking it since the 18th century. We enjoy not only ... READ MORE
From A to B Live

From A to B

Speaking of transport and transportation, #brnoregion still has some issues to improve but also so much to be proud of. The public transport in Brno in particular is one of the c... READ MORE
Enjoy Majáles - the biggest student festival Live

Enjoy Majáles - the biggest student festival

The most entertaining part of the student year in #brnoregion? Definitely spring. Before the semester moves into the test period, it’s necessary to recharge one’s batteries and to ... READ MORE
#brnoregion, Excellent Starting Line Live

#brnoregion, Excellent Starting Line

Four year seasons, varied landscapes and nature, great city with sporting facilities, this is a fantastic background for everyone to find the best sporting activities in #brnoregio... READ MORE
Spank the Baby! Easter Volume Live

Spank the Baby! Easter Volume

Czech Easter is a big deal. Controversial. Loved and hated. And also magic. Let’s find out what “pomlázka” is, how a decorated Easter egg looks like, and how a bit of symbolic viol... READ MORE
Armin the Extraordinary Live

Armin the Extraordinary

What a funny paradox it is that insignificant trivia get in the spotlight while very important phenomena go unnoticed. Quite the same with people: there are so many so-called celeb... READ MORE
Our hearts beat for games in #brnoregion Live

Our hearts beat for games in #brnoregion

Do you like playing? No matter if you prefer board games with a gang of friends or online gaming, #brnoregion will feel like heaven. We enjoy playing games and we love creating the... READ MORE


In 2000 Stephen Hawking published his vision that the new century would be the age of complexity. If Mr. Hawking was not mistaken, this century is going to be the age of #brnoregio... READ MORE


#brnoregion is strong and modern background for creators looking for support on their way to success as well as their real home. It provides everyone with high living standarts. ... READ MORE
Innovate your travelling! Live

Innovate your travelling!

How can you save money on the road, entertain your kids on a trip or discover the world from your couch at home? We have a couple of great tips from creative and clever heads from ... READ MORE
This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more