Genius Mathematician Kurt Gödel Refused Food for This Unusual Reason

By: Olawale Ogunjimi | Published: Oct 31, 2023

There are several records of individuals who have decided to go without food for socially understandable reasons. For example, Mahatma Gandhi went on several voluntary fasts to protest British rule in colonial India.

However, we recently discovered a brilliant scientist who chose to stay away from grub, and you’ll find his reasons for this decision quite strange.

Kurt Gödel, Brilliance Personified

Right from his childhood, it was easy to tell that Kurt Gödel would turn out to be an intelligent chap. As a kid, he was inquisitive and was always asking questions.

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Gödel was born in 1906 in Austria and by 1929 had already bagged his doctorate. It was at his alma mater—the University of Vienna—that Gödel met his heartthrob, Adele Numbursky, whom he married in 1938. Adele was six years older, and Gödel’s parents objected, but they were defiant.

Gödel Successfully Mastered Mathematics

This brilliant Mathematician formulated what he called the Incompleteness Theorem. The theorem is still very relevant in mathematics and computing to date.

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

Unfortunately, Gödel suffered a mental relapse in the mid-1930s and had to undergo treatment at a sanatorium. To make matters worse, he was almost sent to a concentration camp in between the World Wars. However, he was able to escape to the US, where he lived the rest of his life with Adele.

Putting Down Roots on Foreign Soil

In the US, Gödel was offered a seat on the Princeton faculty in New Jersey. Soon after his arrival, Gödel and Einstein formed a close-knitted friendship. In fact, Einstein was instrumental in Gödel’s securing American citizenship.

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The duo, Gödel and Einstein, were almost always found together, chatting away in German. However, Einstein passed on in 1955, and the paranoid side of Gödel began to manifest.

Hitting the Self-Destruct Button

After his closest friend at Princeton passed on, Gödel became somewhat of a social oddity. He avoided interacting with people and only ate food prepared and tasted by his wife, Adele.

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

Gödel had a strong suspicion that an evil force was out to get him and that they were likely to poison his food. Then, unfortunately, Adele fell sick in 1977. With no one trusted to prepare his meals, Gödel went without food and took his last breath just two weeks later.