I have searched and examined legendary stories of the problem-solving skills of von Neumann in mathematics.

  1. With George Polya

  2. With Dantzig

Maybe there are other stories showing that he is a great problem-solver, but I think these two are well-known.

I know that he wrote many papers in pure mathematics (mostly developing new concepts), but with his talented problem-solving skills, didn't he write any paper on solving unsolved problems in mathematics? Maybe I haven't searched enough?

Just because he was not interested in publishing a paper on that subject?

Or, even for him, it is not easy solving problems that are worthy of publishing. What are your thoughts?

  • $\begingroup$ Are you asking whether von Neumann solved any (previously) unsolved problem in math? $\endgroup$ Sep 1, 2022 at 3:45
  • $\begingroup$ @J.W.Tanner Yes, maybe my writing was vague...? $\endgroup$
    – SG Kwon
    Sep 2, 2022 at 5:45

2 Answers 2


John von Neumann (partially) solved Hilbert's fifth problem.

Plus: he is one of those that contributed to solving Russell's paradox by building the axioms of maths.


One guess: There was a question from physics on how to formulate quantum mechanics. Von Neumann proposed doing it using operators on Hilbert space. (1927-1929)

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Which is part of Hilbert's sixth problem. $\endgroup$
    – Mauricio
    Aug 31, 2022 at 19:45

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.