Norbert Wiener

Born: 26-XI-1894 in Columbia, Missouri, USA, Died: 18-III-1964 in Stockholm, Sweden.
Mathematician, member of the Cybernetics Group, one of the founders of cybernetics. With the age of 18 years N. W. graduated with a dissertation about questions of mathematical philosophy. Being engaged in probability research, theory of real functions, potential theory, functional analysis and mathematical physics he got involved in the development of electronic devices for ballistic calculations in world war II. In the interdisciplinary discourse with neuro-scientists his interest in questions of automatic control and communication grew up.

William Ross Ashby



Born: 06-IX-1903, London, England, Died: 15-XI-1972.
British psychiatrist and guest at the meetings of the cybernetics group. A. pioneered the study of control and organization of complex systems and developed concept of homeostats, law of requisite variety, principle of self-organization, and law of regulating models. Being the director of research at Barnwood House Hospital in Gloucester (1947-1959) he wrote the outstanding books "Design for a Brain" (1952) and "Introduction to Cybernetics" (1956). After working as director of the Burden Neurological Institute (1959-1960) and in the Dept. of Electrical Engineering at the University of Illinois, Urbana (1960-1970), he was elected a fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatry in 1971.

References:
Ashby, W. R. (1956), "Introduction to Cybernetics", London, Chapman & Hall [PDF file provided by Principia Cybernetica]
Additional information at the Ashby Archive

Gregory Bateson

Born: 09-V-1904 in Grantchester, England, Died: 04-VII-1980 in San Francisco, California, USA.
Anthropologist, Philosopher, Ecologist.
Bateson began his anthropological research with field studies in New Guinea and Bali. Together with his former wife Margaret Mead he pioneered the field of visual anthropology. Later a member of the cybernetics group he alway understood ecology in a social sense. In opposition to the then predominant scientific reductionism he intended to reintroduce the concept of mind back into scientific discourse.


Hans Sachsse

Hans Sachsse, born 1906 in Wuppertal-Elberfeld, died in the year 1992.
He studied chemistry, physics und philosophy in Tuebingen, Bonn  and Berlin, had a doctorate in 1929, qualified himself as a university lecturer 1935 in Göttingen with a work about the thermal disintegration of ethanol. Sachsse worked in the chemical industry for 25 years. He invented and delevoped a petrochemical method for the production of acethylene by an incomplete
burning of hydrocarbons with oxygen (Dechema award 1952). Sachsse taught physical chemistry and technical chemistry at the University of Mainz since 1960.
He examined in detail the meaning of the cybernetic method in his "introduction to the nature philosophy" [vol.1 "Naturerkenntnis und Wirklichkeit" (nature cognition and reality), Brunswick, 1967, vol. 2 "Die Erkenntnis des Lebendigen" (cognition of life), Brunswick, 1968].
In his "Einführung in die Kybernetik" (introduction to cybernetics, Brunswick, 1971), he deepened these thoughts. He saw a specific model of the biological control in the physiological antagonism which he called bipolar control.Sachsse says information processing is based on evaluation and evaluation scales are in return based on the structure and the past history of the receptive system. Bipolar control is carried out by processing information according to a so called opposite evaluation model. If for example the cold center of the body's heat regulation receives any kind of information, it assigns the opposite meaning, i.e. opposite value, to the same extent of excitation intensity as does the warmth center.
Sachsse described this phenomenon as a qualitative model. This could therefore be considered a principle consideration which would require further research.

E-Mail: [email protected]


Claude Elwood Shannon

Born: 30-IV-1916 in Gaylord, Michigan, USA, Died: 24-II-2001 in Medford, Massachusetts, USA.
Electrical engineer, mathematician. C. S.'s publication "A Mathematical Theory of Communication" in the Bell System Technical Journal (later reprinted as "The Mathematical Theory of Communication") laid the foundation of information theory.

References:
Shannon, C. E. (1948). "A mathematical theory of communication", Bell System Technical Journal, Vol. 27, pp. 379-423 and 623-656, July and October, 1948.
Shannon, C. E. and W. Weaver (1949, 1998). The Mathematical Theory of Communication. Urbana and Chicago, University of Illinois Press.


Frederic Vester

Born: 23-XI-1925 in Saarbrücken, Saarland, Germany, Died: 02-XI-2003 in München (Munich), Bavaria, Germany.
Biochemist. F. V. acted for several years in universities and research centers in the United States and Germany, before he founded the "Studiengruppe für Biologie und Umwelt" (Study group for biology and environment) in München (Munich, Bavaria). His work gave multiple stimuli to science, economy, ecology and politics. After first implementations in cancer and memory research F. V.'s method of networked thinking has been applied in the form of his sensitivity model for regional politics and planning of traffic systems and conflict prevention. Vester held a chair at the Bundeswehr Military University in Munich and was a guest professor at the University St. Gallen, Switzerland. From 1993 he was member of the Club of Rome. More than 500 publications covered popular books that have been translated into 17 languages.


Milos Lánsky

Born: 30-VII-1926 in Prag, Czechia, Died: 13-V-2005 in Budweis, Czech Rebublic.
After WW II Lansky studied mathematics and physics at the Charles University in Prague, where he received his doctor's degree in 1952. 1957 he obtained candidacy at the Technical University of Prague and in 1963 he qualified as university lecturer in mathematics again at the Charles University. After perennial political and legal conflicts with the university management in Prague he worked form 1960 at the Pedagocial Institute in Karlovy Vary and later at the pedagogical faculty in Pilzen before he returned to Prague, where he worked out major foundations of educational cybernetics.
After Prague Spring he emigrated in 1968 to Austria, where he took the lectern for cybernetic pedagogics at the Johannes-Keppler-University in Linz.
From 1971 he erected in Paderborn, Germany the institute for educational informatics. Up to 1991 he worked there for the establisment of computer science and educational technology.
Lánsky is laureat of the Wiener-Schmidt-Prize for exceptional contributions to communicational cybernetics and educational technology.

Reference:
H. Frank (2005) "Nachruf auf Milos Lánsky", GrKG/H 46/2, 103