German mathematician, philosopher, and physicist whose work was fundamental to 20th-century mathematics. He founded the formalist school with Grundlagen der Geometrie/Foundations of Geometry
(1899), which was based on his idea of postulates.
Hilbert attempted to put mathematics on a logical foundation through defining it in terms of a number of basic principles, which Kurt Gödel later showed to be impossible. In 1900 Hilbert proposed a set of 23 problems for future mathematicians to solve, and gave 20 axioms to provide a logical basis for Euclidean geometry.
© RM 2014. Helicon Publishing is division of RM.