Garry Kasparov is just about to deliver a speech at the Gödel Centenary in Vienna. His 30 minute address includes a bunch of chess numbers and bits about tablebases and Deep Blue sure to interest this crowd. There is also an interesting affinity in how Gödel believed in a higher truth than the formulas provided by the formalists. You don't expect a logician to stand up for human intuition, which is essentially what he did. (The crux of his famous incompleteness statement is that there are always things that are true that cannot be proven to be true.) Kasparov's professional lectures to business groups often include material on the primacy of intuition over calculation.
I'm not 100% sure I comprehended Gödel in college, back when my brain was relatively unadulterated, but it's been fun rediscovering him and browsing a few of the excellent books that have come out about him in recent years, although these bios mostly stay away from the math. (Why do writers assume that people who read a math biography don't want to read any math? Why not just toss some in for the geeks who do?) Back in the day, all we had was Hofstadter. My friend Paul Hoffman wrote a great bio of the mathematician Paul Erdös. If the name rings a bell (Hoffman, not Erdös) it may be because he's currently helping the US Chess Federation revamp Chess Life and the website. I wonder how that's going.
[Thanks to everyone for the welcome back notes. It was nice to see that the weather in Brooklyn was mostly crappy while I was
in the Bahamas working frantically on a book project at a retreat upstate.]