He is recognized as one of the most influential and universal mathematicians of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Hilbert adopted and warmly defended Georg Entertaining mathematics for children 3 years’s set theory and transfinite numbers.
Hilbert and his students contributed significantly to establishing rigor and developed important tools used in modern mathematical physics. Hilbert is known as one of the founders of proof theory and mathematical logic, as well as for being among the first to distinguish between mathematics and metamathematics. An intense and fruitful scientific exchange among the three began, and Minkowski and Hilbert especially would exercise a reciprocal influence over each other at various times in their scientific careers. In 1895, as a result of intervention on his behalf by Felix Klein, he obtained the position of Professor of Mathematics at the University of Göttingen.
Its new building, constructed with funds from the Rockefeller Foundation, was opened by Hilbert and Courant in 1930. Among Hilbert’s students were Hermann Weyl, chess champion Emanuel Lasker, Ernst Zermelo, and Carl Gustav Hempel. John von Neumann was his assistant. Good, he did not have enough imagination to become a mathematician”. Hilbert’s response upon hearing that one of his students had dropped out to study poetry.
Hilbert lived to see the Nazis purge many of the prominent faculty members at University of Göttingen in 1933. About a year later, Hilbert attended a banquet and was seated next to the new Minister of Education, Bernhard Rust. Rust asked whether “the Mathematical Institute really suffered so much because of the departure of the Jews”. It doesn’t exist any longer, does it! By the time Hilbert died in 1943, the Nazis had nearly completely restaffed the university, as many of the former faculty had either been Jewish or married to Jews. Hilbert’s funeral was attended by fewer than a dozen people, only two of whom were fellow academics, among them Arnold Sommerfeld, a theoretical physicist and also a native of Königsberg.
The epitaph on his tombstone in Göttingen consists of the famous lines he spoke at the conclusion of his retirement address to the Society of German Scientists and Physicians on 8 September 1930. The day before Hilbert pronounced these phrases at the 1930 annual meeting of the Society of German Scientists and Physicians, Kurt Gödel—in a round table discussion during the Conference on Epistemology held jointly with the Society meetings—tentatively announced the first expression of his incompleteness theorem. Königsberg merchant, an outspoken young lady with an independence of mind that matched his own”. Hilbert’s son Franz suffered throughout his life from an undiagnosed mental illness. His inferior intellect was a terrible disappointment to his father and this misfortune was a matter of distress to the mathematicians and students at Göttingen.