Paul Bernays  

Autumn 1949 in Oberwolfach  
Born  
Died  18 September 1977  (aged 88)
Nationality  Swiss 
Alma mater  University of Berlin 
Known for  Mathematical logic Axiomatic set theory Philosophy of mathematics 
Scientific career  
Fields  Mathematics 
Thesis 

Doctoral advisor  Edmund Landau 
Doctoral students  Corrado Böhm Julius Richard Büchi Haskell Curry Erwin Engeler Gerhard Gentzen Saunders Mac Lane 
Influences  Issai Schur, Edmund Landau 
Paul Isaac Bernays (17 October 1888  18 September 1977) was a Swiss mathematician, who made significant contributions to mathematical logic, axiomatic set theory, and the philosophy of mathematics. He was an assistant and close collaborator of David Hilbert.
Bernays was born into a distinguished GermanJewish family of scholars and businessmen. His greatgrandfather, Isaac ben Jacob Bernays, served as chief rabbi of Hamburg from 1821 to 1849.^{[1]}
Bernays spent his childhood in Berlin, and attended the Köllner Gymnasium, 18951907. At the University of Berlin, he studied mathematics under Issai Schur, Edmund Landau, Ferdinand Georg Frobenius, and Friedrich Schottky; philosophy under Alois Riehl, Carl Stumpf and Ernst Cassirer; and physics under Max Planck. At the University of Göttingen, he studied mathematics under David Hilbert, Edmund Landau, Hermann Weyl, and Felix Klein; physics under Voigt and Max Born; and philosophy under Leonard Nelson.
In 1912, the University of Berlin awarded him a Ph.D. in mathematics, for a thesis, supervised by Landau, on the analytic number theory of binary quadratic forms. That same year, the University of Zurich awarded him the Habilitation for a thesis on complex analysis and Picard's theorem. The examiner was Ernst Zermelo. Bernays was Privatdozent at the University of Zurich, 191217, where he came to know George Pólya.
Starting in 1917, David Hilbert employed Bernays to assist him with his investigations of the foundations of arithmetic. Bernays also lectured on other areas of mathematics at the University of Göttingen. In 1918, that university awarded him a second Habilitation, for a thesis on the axiomatics of the propositional calculus of Principia Mathematica.^{[2]}
In 1922, Göttingen appointed Bernays extraordinary professor without tenure. His most successful student there was Gerhard Gentzen. After the passing of the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service in 1933, he was dismissed from this post because of his Jewish ancestry. After working privately for Hilbert for six months, Bernays and his family moved to Switzerland, whose nationality he had inherited from his father, and where the ETH employed him on occasion. He also visited the University of Pennsylvania and was a visiting scholar at the Institute for Advanced Study in 193536 and again in 195960.^{[3]}
Bernays's collaboration with Hilbert culminated in the two volume work Grundlagen der Mathematik by Hilbert and Bernays (1934, 1939), discussed in Sieg and Ravaglia (2005). In seven papers, published between 1937 and 1954 in the Journal of Symbolic Logic, republished in (Müller 1976), Bernays set out an axiomatic set theory whose starting point was a related theory John von Neumann had set out in the 1920s. Von Neumann's theory took the notions of function and argument as primitive; Bernays recast von Neumann's theory so that classes and sets were primitive. Bernays's theory, with some modifications by Kurt Gödel, is now known as von NeumannBernaysGödel set theory. A proof from the Grundlagen der Mathematik that a sufficiently strong consistent theory cannot contain its own reference functor is now known as the HilbertBernays paradox.