Alonzo church:his life, his work and some of his miracles

History and Philosophy of Logic 18 (4):211-232 (1997)
Abstract
This paper is dedicated to Alonzo Church, who died in August 1995 after a long life devoted to logic. To Church we owe lambda calculus, the thesis bearing his name and the solution to the Entscheidungsproblem.His well-known book Introduction to Mathematical LogicI, defined the subject matter of mathematical logic, the approach to be taken and the basic topics addressed. Church was the creator of the Journal of Symbolic Logicthe best-known journal of the area, which he edited for several decades This paper is in three sections. The first is written in journalistic style:the story of the life of AlonzoChurch is told, including some of the many anecdotes I have collected from different sources. The secondpart is devoted to his work, but is far from being exhaustive. The last part is more original; in it I attempto show that Church?s great discovery was lambda calculus and that his remaining contributions weremainly inspired afterthoughts in the sense that most of his contributions as well as some of his pupils derivefrom that initial achievement. Included are Kleene?s Recursion Theory and the completeness proof ofHenkin. I have added an appendix in which is presented the typed lambda calculus and a proof of theundecidability of first-order logic
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