Alonzo Church

Updated: 09/15/2017 by Computer Hope

Alonzo ChurchName: Alonzo Church

Born: June 14, 1903, in Washington, D.C., USA

Death: August 11, 1995 (Age: 92)

Computer-related contributions

  • Mathematician and logician whose work gave birth to the field of theoretical computer science.
  • With his student Alan Turing, proposed the Church-Turing thesis about the nature of computable functions.
  • Devised the lambda calculus, a formal, "remarkably simple" mathematical system for describing computation in terms of function abstraction. Today, the lambda calculus is one of the fundamental tools of computer science, and a defining aspect of high-level programming languages such as Lisp and JavaScript.

Significant publications

  • Introduction to Mathematical Logic, 1956.
  • The Calculi of Lambda-Conversion, 1941.
  • A Bibliography of Symbolic Logic, 1936.

Honors and awards

  • Honorary Doctor of Science (DSc) degrees from Case Western University, Princeton University, and SUNY Buffalo.

Quotes

"I never had any mathematical conversations with anybody, because there was no one else in my field."

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