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Hao Wang papers, Rockefeller University Faculty (FA274)

Biographical/Historical Note

Hao Wang was born on May 20, 1921 in Jinan (Tsinan) in what is today the People's Republic of China. Wang grew up in China, and received his Bachelor's degree in Mathematics from the National Southwestern Associated University in 1943, and his Master's degree in Philosophy from Tsing Hua University in 1945.

Wang moved to the United States, and in 1948, he received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from Harvard University. He remained at Harvard as a Junior Fellow of the Society of Fellows (from 1948 to 1951) and was subsequently appointed as Assistant Professor of Philosophy.

In 1954, Wang travelled to England, where he served as John Locke Lecturer and as Reader in the Philosophy of Mathematics (1956-1961) at Oxford University. Upon reentry into the United States, Wang treturned to Harvard as Gordon McKay Professor of Mathematical Logic and Applied Mathematics. During his tenure at Harvard, Wang also collaborated with the Burroughs Corporation, the University of Michigan, the International Business Machine Corporation (IBM), Bell Laboratories, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

In 1967, Wang joined the faculty of the Rockefeller University, a position he would hold until his death. Although the Logic Research Group was disbanded in 1976, Wang remained at the University, continuing his research and work in mathematics, logic, and philosophy. Wang's early research was in computer science, artificial intelligence, and automated theorem proving, and in the 1960s, he introduced domino problems ("Wang tiles"). Later in his career, Wang focused his attention on the life and writings of the mathematician-philosopher Kurt Gödel. Prior to his death in 1978, Gödel allowed Wang to have many in-depth discussions with him; one product of these conversations was Wang's 1987 book "Reflections on Kurt Gödel."

Wang was a member of the Association of Symbolic Logic and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was named Honorary Professor at both Peking University (1985) and Tsing Hua University (1986). In addition to numerous articles, Wang authored "Logic, Computers and Sets" (1962), "From Mathematics to Philosophy" (1974), "Popular Lectures on Mathematical Logic" (1981), "Beyond Analytic Philosophy: Doing Justice to What We Know" (1985), and "A Logical Journey: From Gödel to Philosophy" (1996). In 1983, Wang was awarded the first Milestone Prize for Automated Theorem Proving.

Hao Wang died of lymphoma at the age of 73 on May 13, 1995.

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