GÖDEL, KURT. 1906-1978.
On Undecidable Propositions of Formal Mathematical Systems. Notes on Lectures by Kurt Gödel. February-May, 1934. Princeton, N.J.: Institute for Advanced Study, 1934.
4to (279 x 215 mm). , 30 ff. mimeographed on rectos only. Contemporary cloth-backed plain paper wrappers stapled at spine, front wrapper and spine titled in manuscript. Corners chipped, front wrapper reinforced with tape, still an excellent copy of this rare and fragile item.
Provenance: American Logician J. Barkley Rosser (ownership stamp and text corrections in his hand).
FIRST EDITION OF THE COMPLETE LECTURE NOTES TO GÖDEL'S FAMED SEMINARS ON MATHEMATICAL LOGIC AT THE INSTITUTE FOR ADVANCE STUDY. Following the publication of his ground-breaking paper "Über formal unentscheidbare Sätze der Principia Mathematica und verwandter Systeme I" [On undecidable propositions of formal mathematical systems], published in 1931 in Monatsheften für Mathematik und Physik, Gödel was invited to Princeton to give a seminar on his work. Only a small handful of people attended the seminar, and there were apparently only five people who attended regularly, including two students of Alonzo Church (1903-1995): logician J.B. Rosser (1907-1989), who later went on to prove "Rosser's Trick," a stronger version of Gödel's first incompleteness theorem, and Stephen Cole Kleene (1909-1994), best known as the founder of recursion theory. Both Rosser and Kleene were responsible for editing the notes given to them by Gödel and for producing the present mimeograph version. (Gödel's original manuscript is at Princeton with a catalog entry identifying Rosser and Kleene as the editors.) It is reasonable to believe that there were less than 5 or 6 copies made of the lecture notes. Other than the original manuscript at Princeton, we are only of aware of the existence of two, including the present copy.
Gödel's work and his seminar had a profound impact upon the work of those who followed him, the repercussions of which are being felt to this day. "Kurt Gödel's achievement in modern logic is singular and monumental indeed it is more than a monument, it is a landmark which will remain visible far in space and time. The subject of logic has certainly completely changed its nature and possibilities with Gödel's achievement" (P.R. Halmos, "The Legend of von Neumann," The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol 80, No 4, [April 1973], pp 382394); see Nagel and Newman, Gödel's Proof.