Arnold Neumaier

Links (My research interests; My books; Mathematics; Other Science;
Religion; Personal; Austria and Vienna; Webmail; Other)

  • Research Interests; Publications; Citations; Mein Beruf
  • Current Courses - Aktuelle Vorlesungen
  • Vienna Graduate School On Computational Optimization
  • Software of our Group
  • Global Optimization
  • Theoretical Physics FAQ; The thermal interpretation
  • Physics Overflow (external question and answer site for graduate+ level physics)

  • Prof. Dr. Arnold Neumaier
    Fakultät für Mathematik
    Universität Wien
    Oskar-Morgenstern-Platz 1
    A-1090 Wien

    Office: Oskar-Morgenstern-Platz 1, Room 04.136
    Phone:+431 4277 50661

    I am a mathematician and physicist at the University of Vienna, holding since 1994 the chair for computational mathematics at the Faculty of Mathematics.

    Two years after my Ph.D., my formerly atheistic world view changed and I became a Christian. I got convinced that there is a very powerful God who created the Universe, who controls what appears to us to be chance, and who is interested in each of us individually. I understood (with Galilei, and later Newton and Maxwell) that God had written the book of nature in the language of mathematics. As a result of these insights, one of my main goals in life became to understand all the important applications of mathematics in other fields of science, engineering, and ordinary life. It is a challenge that keeps me learning all my life.

    My faith and my understanding of God is the central motivation and moving power for my strong commitment to science both in my profession and in my spare time. I always considered my faith as an integral part of my scientific work. From time to time, this has caused defamatory opposition from anti-religious quarters that began shortly after I came to Vienna, among others from the student organization Roter Vector. I had addressed this already in my inaugural lecture in April 1995, where I had commented it by citing the following lines from the Cherubinic Wanderer by Angelus Silesius. (Angelus Silesius: Sämtliche poetische Werke in drei Bänden. Band 3, München 1952, S. 36.)

    As a consequence, I diligently collected in my spare time material on the relation of science and faith, and published it since 1997 on my then newly created university website together with essays on various topics. In the over 25 years of their existence, these well-researched pages have enjoyed steady international interest, resulting till today in a very high visibility. For example, on the search machine Bing, the query 'science and faith' placed my web site on position 4 of about 1.5 million results. (Checked on April 16, 2020. Total numbers fluctuate from day to day by up to about 10%; the ranking itself is fairly stable.)

    The anti-religious opposition against me peaked again recently when as a result of (to me anonymous) complaints against the religious part of this website, the rectorate blocked my complete professional web site. Without prior warning, the rectorate informed me of this act on April 3, 2022, saying that the blocking will be lifted under the condition that I remove two items from my entrance page. These are further discussed below.

    Although this action of the rectorate is in my opinion an illegal act of religious discrimination I modified the entrance page of my university web site and removed the incriminated passages.

    However, before doing so, I moved the original entrance page to my own web domain and modified it to show that what I wrote does not violate the web site regulations of the university - at least not more than numerous other webpages that violate these, in their literal reading extremely restrictive, regulations.

    It is this modified version that you are now reading.

    Since being at the University of Vienna, my main scientific research is in the fields of optimization, mathematical software, and data science. This includes the development of powerful software for general optimization problems and of techniques for artificial intelligence. In addition, I have strong interests in computational quantum physics and its conceptual foundations.

    This poem is one of the items explicitly incriminated by the rectorate. In this poem I had created an artistic expression of the abstract concept of the omnipotence of God in terms of a spectrum of concrete instances where God appears as the 'solution' of an optimization problem (excellence, perfection).

  • Science and faith; My views on the Christian way of life; Gedanken zum Leben als Christ
    These are the pages I had built over the years to document the close connections of science and faith. The first of these pages is a mirror copy of the page ranked on position 4 in the Bing query mentioned above.
  • God and war; Gott und Krieg
    This is the other item explicitly incriminated by the rectorate. The links lead to texts from the Book of Lamentations. The Book of Lamentations belongs to the canon of sacred scripture of both Jews and Christians. Many orthodox Jews read the Book of Lamentations weekly. The book describes in a distinguished literary form the personal response of a pious Jew - a personal witness of the siege of Jerusalem (587 BC) - to the inhuman consequences of this war. They thus bear witness of a little known, perhaps also controversial, parallel to the current disastrous events in Europe, where rockets controlled by modern optimization software are used both for the devastating Russian attacks and the Ukrainian defence against them.

    It would be impossible for me to bear the responsibility for developing even better optimization software without strongly believing - like the lamenting person in the Book of Lamentations - that God is omnipotent, or at least powerful enough to be in control of and hence ultimately responsible for all wars.

    Moreover, the Book of Lamentations is exemplary in that, in spite of the manifest deep suffering, hatred of the enemy is almost completely absent. In contrast, European responses to a perceived enemy today often resemble more a witch-hunt than a constructive response.

  • An example of anti-religious opposition against me on the web, by someone whose concept of God makes him fail to comprehend religious people. Thus he turns me and all Christian thinkers into sociopaths - the only category available to him where he can fit people like me. 2000 years ago, Jesus was also called names (Mark 3:21) but wasn't intimidated, knowing it was a misunderstanding. He made his followers aware that they will be called names just like he was (Matthew 10:25-26), and suggested that we should be glad about it:

  • Links (My research interests; My books; Mathematics; Other Science;
    Religion; Personal; Austria and Vienna; Webmail; Other)