John von Neumann (1903, Budapest, Hungary; 1957, Washington D.C., U.S.A.) was without doubt one of the scientific geniuses of 20th Century. The Financial Times named him the Man of the XXth Century. After von Neumann had graduated from high school, he simultaneously studied chemistry in Zürich and mathematics in Budapest, and after a brief post doctoral stay in Germany, he got appointed as one of the first six permanent professors of the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton, U.S.A., with which he remained affiliated until the end of his life.Von Neumann started his professional life as a mathematician by work on axiomatic set theory. During his relatively short scientific career he made lasting contributions to almost every major classical discipline of pure and applied mathematics, and he had broken new grounds in mathematical and theoretical physics (especially quantum theory), functional analysis, operator algebras, game theory, theoretical computer science and computer design. Von Neumann also had been actively involved in politics, science management, had served on a number of commissions and advisory committees and had a major impact on U.S. government decisions during and especially after the Second World War.
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of John von Neumann, the Hungarian mathematical society (János Bolyai Mathematical Society) and the Hungarian computer science society (John von Neumann Computer Society) organize several events in 2003. The highlight of the celebration will be two conferences in October, 2003: the annual conference of the von Neumann Society and a memorial conference of the János Bolyai Mathematical Society. The two conferences will start with a day of joint celebration. This event is planned to take place in the main building of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and it will be opened by the President of Hungary. Representatives of several professional societies will be invited (International Mathematical Union, International Aassociation on Mathematical Physics, IEEE) and Domokos Szász, director of the Mathematical Institute of Budapest University of Technology and Economics will deliver the keynote address about the life and work of von Neumann. After this opening day of celebration a conference on mathematics and mathematical physics will take place in the Rényi Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Science. The topic of the conference includes all areas in mathematics and in mathematical physics which von Neumann contributed to, however the emphasis is put on linear operators.