This book is a collection of selected letters written by John von Neumann (1903-1957) to his colleagues, friends, government officials, etc. The book starts with a short description of von Neumann's life, career and results in mathematics (logic, foundations of mathematics, theory of operator algebras and unbounded operators), physics (quantum mechanics and ergodic theorem), computer science and game theory. His letters are arranged in alphabetic order of recipient (we find included here the names G. Birkhoff, P. Dirac, K. Gödel, P. Jordan, I. Kaplansky, E. Schrödinger, E. Segre and N. Wiener). Neumann's original text, punctuation and writing style are carefully maintained. In some cases when typographical errors and misspellings would lead to misunderstanding, the reader will find helpful footnotes.

The letters provide readers with a glimpse of Neumann's thinking about mathematics, physics, computer science, management, education, politics and war. Some of them contain technical problems or difficult topics from mathematics and physics, and they are not easily understandable. Some others concern daily or general problems and would be understandable to a broad cross-section of the public. At the end of the book, the reader can find biographical notes on the recipients of Neumann's letters (69 scientists, politicians, educational reformers, publishers, etc.), a list of references and a list of Neumann's publications mentioned in the letters and in the introductory comments. John von Neumann was one of the most influential mathematicians of the twentieth century. The reader will find in the book a description of the background and the development of modern science and many interesting notes on leading scientists and their works.

Reviewer:

mbec